Continent's youth more 'European' than their parents, poll says
By Benjamin Fox
Young people are more likely to consider themselves "European" and to be engaged with the bloc's politics, according to an analysis released on Wednesday (14 November) by survey-group Eurobarometer.
Forty-six percent of 15-24 year olds described themselves as European in addition to their nationality and tended to have a more positive view of the EU than their parents and grandparents.
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The data is part of a set of surveys by Eurobarometer in advance of the 2014 European elections.
Europeans would also be more likely to vote if the pan-European political parties put up a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission running on a jointly agreed policy programme.
The four largest European political parties – the European People's Party, Socialists and Democrats, Liberals and Greens – all intend to put up a candidate. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that it would encourage them to vote.
But when asked about the date of the next European elections only a quarter knew that they were in June 2014, with under 25s the least knowledgeable about the election timetable.
Professionals and students were more likely to have a positive view of the EU with 65 percent of 'managers' regarding their country's EU membership as 'a good thing' compared with 47 percent among blue-collar workers and 42 percent of the unemployed.
The single currency also emerges as the most identified single element of European identity, particularly in those countries most hit by the effects of the eurozone debt crisis.
Meanwhile, measures to help create jobs and combat unemployment were cited by 72 percent as the main policy priority for the 27-country bloc. So far, however, there has been little concrete action at EU level to promote structural projects or targeted stimulus to create new jobs.