31st May 2020

Convention: unknown by European citizens

Sixteen months of hard toil on a constitutional text with some of Europe's most well-known politicians have not succeeded in raising awareness of the Convention among the majority of Europe's citizens.

A poll conducted on behalf of the European Commission directly after the draft Constitution was ceremoniously handed over to EU leaders at Thessaloniki Summit (20-21 June), found that 55% of the 25,000 surveyed had never heard of the Convention.

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The worst informed in the enlarged EU of 25 member states were the British with only 25% having heard of the Convention.

However, they are not alone. Snapping at their heels were the Hungarians and Latvians also coming in with less than 30%.

At the other end of the scale, the Greeks beat everybody hands down.

81% of those asked had heard of the Convention - most likely due to the fact that their country held the EU Presidency during the first half of this year resulting in broad coverage by domestic media.

Luxemburgers came in at second with 66 percent.

40% of those surveyed said they "do not intend" to read the text, which proposes, among other things, a European Foreign Minister, a Permanent President of the European Council and substantially increasing the powers of the European Parliament.

Finns score highest here. Some 53 per cent do not want to read the Treaty blueprint - despite being quite well informed about the Convention itself.

But they are also keeping good company. Britons, Germans, the Dutch and the Danes also score highly in the not-reading-draft-constitution stakes.

The Commission is intending to conduct a second survey at the beginning of October for the start of the Intergovernmental Conference to tie up any loose ends in the Treaty.

Member states' parliaments will just be coming to debate the issue after the summer break which may create higher awareness.

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