2024 is set to be a pivotal year for elections worldwide, with billions of citizens heading to the polls. Europe is no exception: millions of Europeans just voted in the European Parliament elections.

Since the European Union (EU) adopted guidelines on election assistance and observation in 2000, providing electoral support has been a cornerstone of European democracy support.

Now, over two decades later, the management of electoral processes faces new challenges: rising autocratisation, election interference, misuse of new technologies, and declining credibility of the EU due to democratic backsliding within Europe.

This new study assesses European support for election around the world and offers suggestions for how this needs to adapt to mounting challenges. This reflection on electoral support also raises questions about its role within the broader framework of supporting democracy and good governance.


Today, this [electoral] support is under pressure due to global geopolitical, technological, and political developments that directly impact the competitive environment of democratic politics and the management of electoral processes. Similar pressure is apparent in a whole swath of policy areas, from human rights to global trade. Given that the EU guidelines on elections were developed almost a quarter of a century ago, there is a need to reflect on how the EU and its member states can adapt their electoral support to meet these pressing challenges. – Ken Godfrey


This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.