Sunday

21st Oct 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive

Voters in Germany's largest state hived off to the left and right of the ruling conservatives in Sunday's elections - posing questions for Merkel's authority.

News in Brief

  1. Germany leads EU criticism of Saudi Arabia
  2. Huge pro-EU march takes place in London
  3. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  4. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  5. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  6. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  7. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  8. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us