Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Europeans more positive about EU, survey shows

  • Respondents were asked: Does your voice count in the EU? 47% said yes, 48% said no. (Photo: European Parliament)

Europeans increasingly believe that their voice matters in European affairs, a study ordered by the European Parliament showed on Wednesday (18 October).

The survey results showed that 47 percent of respondents felt "their voice counts in the EU", which is the highest level since June 2009.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • In the UK, some 55% said their country benefited from EU membership. (Photo: Guled Ahmed)

Inversely, 48 percent said they felt their voice did not count. This was the lowest in eight years.

The study was carried out by Kantar Public, which interviewed 27,881 Europeans in September and October.

More Europeans (61 percent) think their voice counted at the national level, but Romanian and Lithuanian respondents said they thought their voice counted more at the EU level than at home.

Membership of the EU is also supported by the majority of respondents.

Just like the survey from six months earlier, 57 percent of the answers said that their country's membership of the EU is "a good thing". That was almost as high as in 2007, when 58 percent agreed with the statement. Over the past decade, May 2011 saw the lowest percentage of people agreeing (47 percent).

Some 28 percent thought their country's membership was neither good or bad, while 12 percent - the lowest in ten years - said membership was a bad thing.

The survey also included interviews in the UK, which is due to leave the EU by March 2019.

Britons happy with EU 'on balance'

While lower than the EU average, a good 55 percent of UK respondents said that "taking everything into account", the UK has "on balance" benefited from EU membership.

That was a more positive review of the EU than the one given by citizens from Austria (53 percent), Greece (48 percent), Cyprus (45 percent) and Italy (39 percent).

Irish respondents were most positive, with 90 percent saying their country had benefited.

In Poland, 84 percent said their country had benefited, while in Hungary 72 percent agreed with that notion.

The EU average was 64 percent - the highest in a decade.

However, there are differing reasons for thinking that EU membership has been beneficial.

For example, both in Denmark and Estonia, 81 percent of respondents said their country benefited.

But in Denmark, the main reason was because it allowed Denmark to cooperate with other EU countries, whereas Estonians saw more of a benefit in the EU's contribution to economic growth.

The researchers also asked what EU objective should be protected.

Interestingly, the most frequent answer in the UK (46 percent) was the freedom to travel, work and study across the EU - a right which featured prominently in the referendum campaign ahead of the UK's decision to leave, and one Britons are expected to lose after Brexit.

Respondents in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Germany, tended to say that fundamental rights and freedoms were the most important, while Mediterranean countries most often mentioned labour rights.

Europeans more optimistic about EU since Brexit vote

Perceptions of the EU have increased significantly in France, and Europeans generally feel more optimistic about the future of the bloc since last autumn - despite Brexit and a surge in populism.

EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks

The EU is "not confident, but hopeful" that the UK will achieve sufficient progress for 'stage 2' by December, as Britain's Brexit negotiator blames the slow pace of negotiations on the EU ahead of a crucial summit meeting.

Schinas spars with MEPs over migration job title

A number of MEPs pressed Margaritis Schinas to drop the "Protecting the European Way of Life" title of his portfolio, which deals with migration. But Schinas refused, claiming it needs protecting from terrorists and populists. He failed to convince.

Poland's 'vague' nominee flops in EU hearing

Poland's nominee for agriculture commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, is likely to face a second hearing after MEPs from top political groups lambasted his "vague" performance on Tuesday.

Analysis

How MEPs will quiz the next commissioners

The EU parliament will organise public hearings to assess the future commissioners' suitability for their job and their knowledge about the portfolio they had assigned, before the new EU commission takes office on 1 November.

News in Brief

  1. EU Scream podcast wins media award
  2. Sturgeon will set out Scottish independence plan next week
  3. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  4. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  5. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  6. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  7. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  8. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU values face scrutiny This WEEK
  2. EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK
  3. Huge win for Conservatives in UK election
  4. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  5. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  6. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  7. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  8. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us