Public's Apathy towards Europe Laid Bare in New Poll

Public's Apathy towards Europe Laid Bare in New Poll

The British public know startlingly little about the European Union, despite the country being a member for four decades. A poll by YouGov for the Sun newspaper shows a high level of apathy towards the EU, with over 90 percent of voters unable to name their MEPs.

According to the poll, only 16 percent of voters know that the next European elections will be held on 22 May this year. Sixty-eight percent admitted they didn’t know the date, with the remainder guessing incorrectly.

The poll presented respondents with a series of options for some questions, including ‘don’t know’.

When asked how many MEPs the UK currently elects to the European parliament, 77 percent said they didn’t know, with just seven percent correctly responding that there were 73.

A striking 93 percent also said they could not name a single MEP who represents them in the European Parliament.

The UK elects Members of the European Parliament on a regional list system, where multiple MEPs are elected to represent large regions of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each count as single regions.

Only 45 percent of people knew that the UK joined the EU (then the EEC) in the 1970s, and 47 percent said they did not know how many countries were in the Union. Just 20 percent knew there were 28 members, with 14 percent thinking there were 26.

Conservative MP Douglas Carswell told the Sun: “People don’t know the European system because it’s completely alien to them.

“This is pretty conclusive proof that people don’t want to be governed in this way.”