Monday

22nd Jan 2018

Survey reveals widening EU north-south divide

  • The eurozone crisis has shaken voters' faith in the EU (Photo: morberg)

A new survey has revealed large differences in economic confidence and perceptions about the EU between northern and southern member states.

While 80 percent of Swedes and 77 percent of Germans expressed confidence about the state of their country's economy, this contrasted with only 1 percent of Spaniards, and 2 percent of Cypriots and Greeks.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Respondents from the crisis countries were also far more likely to feel disconnected from EU decision making, according to the eurobarometer survey released Tuesday (23 June).

Two thirds responded negatively to the question "my voice counts in the European Union", including 89 percent of Cypriots and Greeks.

Greece has been at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis since 2010 and is now in its six consecutive year of recession.

A controversial €17 billion bailout package was agreed for Cyprus in April, €7 billion of which is to be raised from a levy on bank deposits.

Meanwhile 69 percent of Greeks and Cypriots, and 67 percent in Portugal said that they were pessimistic about the future of the bloc.

But in fellow crisis country Ireland, which is due to soon exit its bailout programme, the outlook was perceived as brighter. Fifty-eight percent of respondents describing themselves as being optimistic about the EU's future.

Public trust in EU institutions is higher than in national governments according to the poll, by a margin of 6 percent. Meanwhile, Europeans viewed the EU positively by a narrow 30 percent to 29 percent majority.

In a press release accompanying the data, the commission said that it indicated "a greater dose of optimism" among Europeans. It added that six out of ten of those survey described themselves as 'European'.

“This latest survey exposes the extent of the breakdown in trust between citizens and the EU – particularly in crisis-hit southern eurozone countries, which seem to be losing faith in the EU as a positive counter-balance to unpredictable national politics," said Vincenzo Scarpetta, a political analyst at think-tank Open Europe.

"If this is not urgently addressed, the legitimacy of the EU may struggle to recover,” he added.

However, high levels of economic pessimism were not reserved exclusively for the bloc's bailout countries.

Only 6 percent of French people were content with the prospects of their economy with 92 percent responding negatively. France has come under pressure from Brussels to bring down its budget deficit more rapidly and to liberalise its labour market.

The survey also revealed that the eurozone economy remains the main EU policy concern of voters, although unemployment comes in a close second.

The Eurobarometer spring 2013 poll surveyed 32,694 citizens across 27 member states.

Late poll release highlights Eurobarometer PR role

A spring Eurobarometer poll on energy which still awaits publication - revealing a drop in public support for EU powers in this area - highlights the European Commission's strategic use of its Eurobarometer surveys in promoting key policies.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

News in Brief

  1. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  2. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time
  3. CSU politicians set to oppose concessions to SPD
  4. Greek mass protests against use of 'Macedonia' in name dispute
  5. Oxfam report reveals inequality as Davos elite gather
  6. Macron: France would probably have voted to quit EU
  7. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  8. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  2. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  3. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  4. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  5. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  6. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  7. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  8. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week