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Surge in young voters 'drove turnout figures up' in EU elections

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Surge in young voters 'drove turnout figures up' in EU elections

The number of young people who turned out to vote in the European elections in May shot up by 50 per cent, a new survey has found.

The results of the European Parliament’s ‘Eurobarometer’ post-electoral survey showed that voting by people below the age of 24 rose from 28 per cent in 2014 to 42 per cent this year.

Turnout of people between the ages of 25-39 also increased, rising by 34 per cent on the previous election in 2014.

This trend is largely responsible for the overall increase in voter turnout, the European Parliament has said, with the authors of the study noting: “it was Europe’s young and first time voters who drove turnout figures up.”

The EU-wide voter turnout was 50.6 per cent. Older voters, particularly those over the age of 55 were still the most likely to vote, although the increase amongst this age range was slight.

The top reasons motivating people to head to the polls this year included decisions about economy and growth, promoting human rights and democracy as well as concerns about climate change.

‘How the EU should work in the future’ was the third most cited reason, with immigration coming fourth.

The number of people in the UK who said they had voted ‘to express disagreement’ also leapt up, with Britain coming joint-top of the table along with France and Greece.

Overall, 56 per cent of European citizens said that they believed their voice counts in the EU. The figure for the UK was 41 per cent.

European Parliament President David Sassoli said: “Citizens voted in these European elections based on a very strong support for the EU and with a much stronger belief that their voice counts in the EU.

“Economic reform, climate change, the future of the EU and the defence of human rights: These are all key issues for the European Parliament. This is where we have left our mark in the past years and this is where we will continue to be strong defenders of our citizens’ expectations.”

A full report with more details on how people in the UK voted is due to be released in September.

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