10th Aug 2020

EU enthusiasm on the decrease

  • Less than half of EU citizens trust the European commission (Photo: European Commission)

The EU's image amongst its citizens is deteriorating and Europeans' confidence in the EU institutions is decreasing, a new survey has shown.

The image of the EU as a whole has become less positive, the percentage falling to 47% compared to 50% in the autumn of 2004, according to the most recent study released by the European Commission on Monday (18 July).

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The EU's image is worst amongst British (28%), Finnish (30%) and Austrian (30%) citizens but best amongst the Irish (68%), Italians (63%) and Luxembourgers (58%).

Support for the thorny issue of further enlargement lies at 50% in the EU - a slight decrease since 2004 (53%) - but the figures show a large discrepancy between old and new member states.

Forty-eight percent of EU citizens from old member states support Croatia's membership of the bloc with the number reaching 72% amongst the new member states.

Croatia is followed by acceding countries Bulgaria (46% support among old member states and 70% amongst the ten new members) and Romania (43%, and 58% respectively).

Turkey has gathered the least support particularly amongst the old member states (32%) and picking up 48% support from new member state citizens.

Slovenians (79%), Poles (76%) and Slovaks (73%) are the strongest supporters of EU expansion in general, while Luxembourgers (33%), French (32%), and Austrians (31%) are the least enthusiastic about it.

Positive view of EU membership

Confidence in the EU institutions has fallen when compared to 2004, as only 46% of the Europeans trust the European Commission, compared to 52% in autumn last year.

And 52% of Europeans trust the European Parliament now, compared to 57% in 2004.

People are most confident in the EU institutions in Hungary, Belgium and Luxembourg, while they tend to trust them least in the UK, Germany and Latvia.

But despite increasing scepticism towards the institutions and the image of the bloc, a majority of EU citizens (54%) still regard EU membership positively, with the figures being particularly high in the 15 old member states (55% on average).

A majority of Europeans (55%) have also declared to have benefited from their countries' membership of the EU, the level of satisfaction being highest in Ireland (87%), and lowest in Sweden (36%).

The survey was carried out between 9 May and 14 June - a period that witnessed the rejection of the EU constitution in France and the Netherlands.

However, two-thirds (61%) of the European citizens have not given up on the idea of a constitution for the EU, according to the survey.

This may be explained by the fact that the question concerned the concept of such a constitution, and not a concrete content, reads the document.

The opinion poll was carried out in the 25 EU countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Turkey, and in the territory of Northern Cyprus.


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