Europeans Want Direct Democracy
The coming year in Europe promises political drama as Brexit negotiations continue, Italians go to the polls, and Germany’s main parties seek a lasting governing coalition. But behind these headline-making political stories stands a deeper question of Europeans’ dissatisfaction with democracy as a way to run their country. Here the news is mixed, with potentially portentous implications for the future.
Across the 10 EU countries the Pew Research Center polled in 2017, a median of 50 percent say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working in their country, compared with just 48 percent who are satisfied. Such disgruntlement is not universal. The picture varies markedly from country-to-country: More than seven-in-ten in Sweden (79 percent), the Netherlands (77 percent), and Germany (73 percent) are pleased with their current democratic system, compared with one-in-four or less in Spain (25 percent) and Greece (21 percent). The Spanish figures precede the secessionist vote in Catalonia.