May 27, 2019 Weekly Graphs
The European Parliament election, which is held every 5 years, took place on 25 May this year. Democracy in Europe has been declining in recent years. According to V-Dem data, the global democratic backslide was most visible in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2017.
In part, these declines reflect growing support for populist parties and strongman policies. Increasing EU-skepticism and anti-immigration views have enabled populist parties to attract voters and populist tendencies have increased among both the traditional left- and right-wing supporters.
V-Dem’s Regional Comparison tool depicts the decline in liberal democracy in Europe since the last European Parliament election which was held in 2014. The graph displays the changes in the level of liberal democracy that has occurred in Europe between 2014 and 2018. The liberal democracy index investigates the extent to which the liberal ideal (individual rights, civil liberties, strong rule of law) of democracy is achieved in a country. No significant change has occurred in countries that remain close to the line. Countries that are above the line have undergone positive change while countries below the line have declined.
From the graph, we see that the only country that has undergone positive change is Macedonia, a non-EU country. At the same time, multiple countries within the European Union have seen their scores decline. Examples include Croatia, Poland, and Hungary. The EU has expressed concerns over the extent to which democratic institutions have been undermined through illiberal policies in Poland and Hungary. In Croatia, EU-skepticism has increased, fueling the increased popularity for the anti-immigration populist party, Human Shield.