Asylum and migration Maltese voters’ main EU issue in 2024 elections – Eurobarometer

Migration stays on the Maltese list of top issues for Europe at 50%, double the EU average, but far less than it was back in 2019, when voters prioritised it at 72%

Asylum and immigration are once again topping the list of European issues that could sway Maltese voters’ decisions in the 2024 elections for the European Parliament, a Eurobarometer survey is showing.

The subject stays on the Maltese list of top issues for Europe at 50% - double the EU average of 24% - but far less than it was back in 2019, when Maltese voters had prioritised it at 72% followed by climate change at 50%. Back then Europeans on average valued economic growth more.

Now, the Maltese rate immigration as their top concern, followed by public health (41%) – a factor that has its own immigration concerns due to national health resources suffering from population pressures – the fight against poverty and social exclusion (38%), and action against climate change (33%).

The 2024 elections are taking place in the context of an anticipated swing towards the far-right in many European countries, overshadowed by war in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as the possible re-election of Donald Trump as US President in November.

Anti-EU populism: MEP elections to deliver gains to far-right

The European Parliament’s Spring 2024 Eurobarometer reveals strong interest among citizens in the upcoming European elections (6-9 June) and awareness of their significance in the current geopolitical context. The Maltese (68%) show greater interest than the EU average (60%), and are 72% more likely to vote (EU: 71%).

European citizens however have rated the fight against poverty and social exclusion (33%) as well as supporting public health (32%) as the main issues under discussion during the electoral campaign.

Support to the economy and the creation of new jobs, as well as EU defence and security are both in third place (on 31%) – in this case the Maltese rated these at 25% and 17% respectively.

Almost three quarters of citizens (73%) say that EU actions have an impact on their daily lives, including a fifth (20%) for whom they ‘very much’ have an impact. In addition, a large majority of Europeans agree that their country, on balance, benefits EU membership (71%).

The Maltese staunchly believe they want the EP to have a major role in their lives (71%), promoting peace as its main priority (43%), and remain absolute believers that EU membership has been beneficial 20 years on from accession (91%).

Ewropej Funded by the European Union

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

More in Ewropej 2024