22nd Sep 2021

Public support for EU energy policy wilts

Despite Brussels' push for a common European strategy on energy, the latest opinion poll - seen by the EUobserver - has shown a shift in public opinion towards support for strategic decisions on energy to be taken at the national, and not the EU level.

According to a new Eurobarometer survey to be published in the coming weeks and presented as a draft to the European Commission on Wednesday (12 July), 42 percent of respondents argue that energy issues should be dealt with primarily by national governments, as opposed to 39 percent favouring Europe's institutions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Most Europeans think energy should be dealt with at home (Photo: European Community, 2006)

The results have been interpreted by officials as a "shift" since last autumn when almost a half of all citizens (47%) preferred the EU take key energy decisions.

The new tendency has been observed in all EU member states and candidate countries, with the biggest loss of support for a common energy project recorded in Cyprus (- 27%), Malta and Latvia (- 16%) and Austria (- 14%).

Denmark is the only exception with the number of people favouring the EU level for energy decisions having risen by 7 percent.

The most enthusiastic supporters of the idea that energy is for individual member states to take care of are the Finnish (65%), Estonians (56%), British (55%) and Swedes (55%).

On the other hand, a common European tackling of looming energy problems is viewed positively in Italy and the Netherlands (both 55%), Denmark (52%) and Belgium (50%).

The draft document has interpreted the results by pointing out that "during autumn 2005 and spring 2006, the action of the EU was not visible and that EU does not have a direct impact on taxes which are levied by member states on energy, in particular petrol for cars."

No to green energy

Europeans have also again clearly expressed their opposition to more expensive green energy.

A majority (59%) of those surveyed said they were not "prepared to pay more for energy produced from renewable sources than for energy produced from other sources."

This tendency has been recorded before but it has even risen - by 5 percent - compared to the autumn poll.

Among the 34 percent of citizens ready to pay more, 24 percent would agree to pay up to 5 percent more.

In the new member states, 70 percent of people are not ready to dole out more, but 18 percent would pay up to 5 percent more.

Among the old EU countries, Danes (22%), Luxembourgers (17%), the Dutch (15%) and the British (13%) would be willing to pay up to 6 to 10% more than at present.

Overall, a majority of Europeans prefer to change their consumption habits rather than pay more for energy, according to the survey.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.


Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. First refugee deaths confirmed on Belarus-EU border
  2. EU kept in dark on ex-commissioner's new lobby job
  3. Fraud against EU dropped 20% last year
  4. French outrage over US security deal exposes EU frustrations
  5. Auditors slam EU Commission on green investments
  6. Youth migration 'costing West Balkans up to €5.5bn a year'
  7. Central & Eastern Europe: What Merkel did for us
  8. Netherlands against more rights for rejected asylum-seekers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us