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All Points North #55: EU vote - what's at stake for Finland?

Advance voting in 2019's European Parliament elections has been brisk. Will the populists come out on top, as some polls indicate?

Audio: Yle News

Upcoming Europarliament elections will determine the future direction of the region and will hopefully address fundamental questions such as who is European, says writer and activist Maryan Abdulkarim. Joining APN for a discussion on Sunday's ballot, Abdulkarim and Helsinki University World Politics professor Teivo Teivainen agreed that voters may be suffering from election fatigue following last month's nail-biting general election.

However they agreed that issues such as migration, climate change, representation and balance of power could see electors rouse themselves to cast ballots on election day. "Even a single vote can make a difference," Abdulkarim pointed out.

Panelists said that there is a real chance for green parties to make great strides in the election and push for climate change mitigation measures at the EU level. Meanwhile Teivainen tamped down concerns about the rise of far-right and populist parties, adding that voters should not expect that all the racist, homophobic and patriarchal tendencies visible in national politics will necessarily be reflected in Brussels.

Teivainen and Abdulkarim both expressed confidence that young MEPs could begin to change the trajectory of the European Parliament and the EU as a whole. After all Abdulkarim said, they are the ones who will live with the kind of bloc that is created. Meanwhile, Teivainen welcomed more young blood in Brussels, noting that the parliament has typically been a place where older statesmen go to "slip into retirement".

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The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed.

This week's podcast presenters were Denise Wall and Zena Iovino and our roving reporter was Ronan Browne. The episode was produced by Pamela Kaskinen with the assistance of Priya Ramachandran D'souza and the audio engineer was Laura Koso.

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