What is a Voting Advice Application, and why is it important?

A Voting Advice Application (VAA) is a tool designed to guide voters in identifying parties that align with their personal beliefs and preferences. Its importance lies in providing clarity on where parties stand on crucial issues, empowering voters to make more informed and confident decisions when casting their ballots.

How can I be sure that my personal preferences will stay anonymous?

The EU&I's legal team has formulated a specific Privacy Statement to safeguard the privacy of the users. In this way, the confidentiality of personal preferences is ensured.

How is independence from funding institutions ensured when developing EU&I?

EU&I employs a reliable, non-partisan methodology, developed by the European University Institute in 2009, based on 1) a very careful selection of statements, 2) an inclusive approach to party selection, and 3) a combination of party self-placement and expert judgement.

Are the questions different depending on the country?

No, the questionnaire presents the same set of questions across all EU countries.

Is EU&I available in all European languages?

EU&I is completely multi-lingual as it aims to be fully inclusive. This ensures that voters from across the EU can access the tool in their preferred language, enhancing the user experience and facilitating informed voting decisions. When accessing the tool, the first step is to choose the country of origin.

Can I answer the questionnaire more than once?

Yes, a user can access the statements more than once. Typically, users can complete the VAA questionnaire multiple times to explore different perspectives or update their responses as their views evolve.

Is it necessary to answer the questionnaire only for my country of origin or can I answer it for other countries as well?

While typically, citizens vote in the European Elections within their own country, EU&I provides the flexibility to explore political stances across different member states. This feature is especially useful for fostering a broader understanding of pan-European political landscapes and for voters residing outside their country of origin. It also distinguishes EU&I as a unique VAA, enabling a broader, more comprehensive exploration of political landscapes across Europe.

How is EU&I encouraging participation?

By providing clear, accessible information on party positions and simplifying the complex landscape of EU politics, EU&I encourages participation by demystifying the voting process and engaging voters.

Is EU&I the only VAA tool? How is it different from the others?

EU&I is not the only VAA tool available. There are many VAA tools, but what makes EU&I different from the rest lies in its foundation on rigorous academic research, ensuring an unbiased platform. Unlike other VAAs, which were created to promote specific media outlets or political parties, EU&I's neutrality is maintained by its scholarly approach.

How did you select the statements used in the questionnaire?

The statements in the questionnaire are updated every five years to reflect the social issues that are most pertinent to the lives of EU citizens at the time of elections. Furthermore, 15 questions have remained unchanged since the tool's first launch in 2009, providing valuable data for ongoing political research and tracking party evolution on key issues.

Why aren't there any statements about the parties themselves?

The EU&I is designed to focus on broader social issues rather than specific party characteristics. This approach allows voters to understand the positions of various parties on key topics, facilitating a comparison of their collective stances rather than isolating individual party perspectives.

How does EU&I calculate the results?

EU&I scientific team has developed the methodology, according to which the result is calculated. The complete methodology is transparent and available for public review.

What can I answer if I only agree with a statement under certain conditions?

If you find yourself agreeing with a statement only under certain conditions, it would be best to select the option that most closely aligns with your general stance. If your agreement is conditional and none of the options perfectly captures your viewpoint, you might consider choosing a less extreme option such as ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ to reflect a nuanced stance.

What should I do if I don't want to provide an answer on a topic?

If you prefer not to answer a question on a particular topic, you can select the 'no opinion' option. Choosing this option means that the statement will not be included in the calculation of your match percentage. It's important to note that 'no opinion' is not treated as a neutral stance but rather is excluded from the calculation process altogether.

Why is my party not included?

Parties included in EU&I are either a) represented in the country's National Parliament, b) represented in the current European Parliament, c) consistently credited with at least 1% of the popular vote in recent polls. EU&I’s unique specificity is the European dimension, providing a harmonised voting advice application across all European Union member states. This comes with limitations in view of the number of parties included and the work required to code them.

How was the EU&I developed? Were parties and voter associations involved in the process?

As soon as the research team crafts the statements for the 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, 'coders'—an expert group of 3 to 10 academics from each EU member state—is recruited to conduct thorough research on the political parties' public statements within their respective countries. This research includes examining the parties' official positions and public interviews given by politicians. When information on certain topics is not readily available, the coders reach out directly to the parties' press teams to inquire about their official positions. Although political parties and voter associations are not directly involved in the tool's development, they provide the essential source material through their public communications.

How does EU&I determine the party positions?

The determination of party positions is achieved through meticulous and comprehensive research conducted by the team of coders. They analyse the official party positions released before the European Parliament (EP) elections. If a position lacks information on specific statements featured in the EU&I, the coders delve deeper, examining parliamentary debates, individual politicians' public statements and more. When necessary, coders reach out to the parties' public relations teams to clarify positions. This detailed process ensures that the EU&I presents an accurate, unbiased representation of each party's stances on the statements featured in the tool’s questionnaire.

How is it possible that I ended up with a party as a result that I did not expect at all?

It's important to consider that EU&I analyses your responses based on the current policy positions of various parties. Your results are determined by how closely your answers match the positions of the parties at the time of the election. If you're surprised by your final results, it can be helpful to review the party's detailed positions on the issues covered in the questionnaire.

How can I find out and compare the positions of different parties on individual topics?

Upon viewing your results in the app, you have the option to delve deeper into the detailed positions of each party on every statement presented. The app provides sources for all the information, ensuring transparency and verifiability of the parties' stances.

How often has the EU&I already been used for the European elections?

The EU&I, originally launched as the EU Profiler in 2009, has been at the forefront of VAAs for the European elections. After 2009, it continued its mission with subsequent editions in 2014 and 2019, achieving a milestone with a record usage of 1.28 million users in 2019. 2024 European Parliament elections will be the 4th  edition (launch).

Why isn’t the tool available sooner?

The availability of the EU&I is timed to ensure accuracy and impartiality, as most political parties release their official positions no more than a month before election dates. That is why EU&I is not available before these official documents are published. This approach ensures that the tool reflects the most current and official stances of all parties, rather than relying on assumptions or past statements.

Are you saying I should vote for the party or candidate that EU&I says is my best match?

EU&I provides insights and information about which party or candidate aligns most closely with your views and preferences. However, it's important to note that the tool is designed to inform and clarify, rather than dictate your voting decision. Your vote is a personal choice.

How is EU&I encouraging participation?

EU&I encourages voter participation by offering straightforward and easily understandable information about the positions of political parties, thereby making the election decisions more accessible.


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