Friday, 25 April 2014

EU Parliamentary Elections: Whom Should I Vote For?

The EU member countries will be electing their representatives to the European Parliament on 22-25 May. Whom to vote for - that's the question. In the past few days several tools have been starting to pop up, offering their help in finding a suitable candidate to vote for. I decided to try some of them out and here are my findings. (European)

15 questions concerning general EU-issues such as energy, Bulgaria & Romania, and taxes. Three different options for answering the questions as per below: green (agree), yellow (no opinion), red (disagree).


  • Easy to follow with clear instructions and background information on the issues at hand
  • Includes information on parties, party groups in Parliament and candidates from the entire Union
  • Very simplified - no room for elaboration of opinions or ideas
  • Very specific questions, so values and a wider context are not taken into account (Finnish)

Questions concerning Finland in the EU; Finland, Russia & EU; identity (European or Finnish); financial issues; environmental issues; the role of the EU in the world; the future of the EU. Answers can be chosen on a sliding scale between "I agree (completely)" and "I disagree (completely)".


  • Many questions on an extensive range of topics
  • More alternatives when answering the questions, not so black and white
  • Possibility to decide on the importance of an issue, there are also several options between "I agree" and "I disagree" when replying to the questions


  • No background information on the questions
  • Heavy influence on the relationship between Finland and the EU
  • Only Finnish candidates, no info on the wider context (Finnish)

Questions related to: the Union, finance, laws, foreign policy and values

  • Very extensive questions and a wide range of topics
  • Pleasant and interactive layout
  • Information about Finnish parties and candidates
  • Only Finland is covered, so no European context as far as parties and candidates are concerned


These tools are an interesting and useful option if one wants to spend some time thinking on political and societal issues before casting a vote. Knowledge is important for creating an educated opinion and in my opinion it's very positive to educate oneself before an election. In general it's a good idea to have an idea about what's going on in society. This might be quite difficult in terms of the European Union because the decisions are made far away in Brussels and the quantity of rules and regulations is enormous. How is a citizen supposed to keep track of things? Furthermore, there are so many candidates out there, so these tools might actually help to find a good alternative to vote for.  

However, the results very much depend on the questions and the information provided in the surveys. I got very differing results in each tool. This should obviously not be the case if the tools aim to be as extensive as possible. My favourite was the third one because it actually included "values". Values and norms are more important than we think. They are always present in the background when decisions are made and implemented. 

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