Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Poll: French most pessimistic about economic future

  • The worst is yet to come believe a majority of French (Photo: Palagret)

Europeans are feeling a bit more positive about the EU than they were late last year but well over a third still feel "neutral" about it while a quarter feel outright negative about it.

The Eurobarometer survey, published Friday (25 July), showed that 35 percent of citizens feel positive about the EU, up 4 percentage points on autumn 2013 - the most significant increase between surveys since 2006/7.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

While 25 percent have a "very negative" view of the EU, this represents a 3 percent drop since the last survey and continues the downward trend from a high of 29 percent in 2012 at the height of the economic crisis.

Just over half (52%) feels their voice does not count in the EU down from 66 percent last year while the number believing their voice is heard has leapt by 13 points to 42 percent, something the pollsters suggest is due to the May EU elections to the European Parliament – held just before the survey.

But the EU average hides large differences between member states. Three-quarters of Cypriots (75%) don't think their voice is heard, while a similar feeling of being disregarded at the EU level is felt by the Czechs, Latvians and Greeks (74% each) and by the Italians (73%).

At the other end of the scale the Swedes, Danes and Dutch are most inclined to feel they are being listened to in Brussels.

Meanwhile, trust at both the EU and the national level remains low, clocking in at 31 percent for the European Union. In 2007, before the economic crisis started, trust in the EU was 57 percent.

There is a wide spread among member states in attitudes about the future of the EU with almost two thirds of Greeks (56%) - whose country is undergoing harsh EU-imposed austerity measures in return for a bailout - "totally pessimistic" about the EU.

They were joined in their pessimism by the UK (45%), the only other country where more felt a black outlook than a positive outlook about the EU.

Germans topped the league of those feeling their economy was "good" (84%) followed by Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and Malta.

The same was true of only four percent in Spain, Greece and Portugal while in France, the eurozone's second biggest economy, eight percent felt the country's economy was good.

The biggest drop in positive feelings about the economy was in Finland down 11 percentage points (to 36%) since last autumn.

The single currency is viewed in a positive light by most Europeans (55%), ranging from a high of 88 percent in eurozone state Estonia and a low of 16 percent in the UK, which does not have the euro.

Latvia, which joined the single currency in January 2013, saw the biggest increase in support since autumn (15 percentage points to 68%) while Lithuania, on course to join it in 2014, also saw a jump in support of 10 points to 50 percent.

Germany, which has paid out the most towards bailouts, remains largely in favour of the euro (75%) while support has risen in struggling and bailed-out periphery countries, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece.

More Europeans (47%) feel the crisis has reached its peak in terms of job loss than feel the worst is yet to come (44%). Overall eight states, including Germany, Spain and the UK, saw a switch from the majority view being optimistic rather than pessimistic.

French people are the most anxious about the future. Only 34 percent feel the jobs crisis has peaked compared with 60 percent who are bracing themselves for a darker economic future. Italy is the other major euro state where there are more pessimists (48%) than optimists (47%).

Most Europeans back migrant curbs, poll finds

Most Europeans believe that migrant workers from other EU countries have been bad for their country and would like to restrict freedom of movement, a new opinion poll suggests.

Irish people most optimistic on EU future

Most Europeans believe the EU faces a brighter future, according to a new poll which also says Irish people are the bloc’s greatest optimists.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us