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23 May 2018

POLITICO: Europeans love the EU (and populists too)

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The survey, carried out for the European Parliament by Kantar Public, a consultancy, found that 48 percent of EU citizens surveyed agree their voice counts in the EU, while 46 percent disagree — and Brexit appears to have improved the pro-EU mood.

Before the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in 2016, just 37 percent of Europeans agreed their voice counted in the EU.

However, citizens feel more connected to national politics than pan-European: 63 percent of Europeans agree their voice counts at the national level, with that figure topping 90 percent in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The good news for the Eurocrats and politicians preparing for next year’s election is that support for the EU is “the highest score ever measured since 1983” according to the survey report.

But attitudes vary dramatically across the Continent, and there are several warning signs for the traditionalists, notably support for anti-establishment parties.

Just 38 percent consider these new parties a threat to democracy — not a view shared by many of the old guard — and 63 percent of those aged 24 and under agreed “new political parties and movements can find solutions better” than existing parties.

Overall 70 percent did agree that “just being against something does not improve anything.”

Better news for the EU is that 67 percent believe their country has benefited from EU membership, according to the survey, and 60 percent say being part of the bloc remains a good thing. (12 percent say it’s bad for their country.) In 2011, at the height of the EU’s financial and economic crises, just 47 percent said EU membership was a good thing.

Levels of support for the EU have gone up in 26 of the bloc’s 28 member countries‚ the exceptions being Germany and the United Kingdom which recorded 2 percent decreases in support (within the survey’s margin of error).

In Italy, which is on course to have a populist governing coalition comprising the far-right League and the anti-establishment 5Star Movement, twice as many people believe their voice isn’t heard at EU level (61 percent to 30 percent), as believe that it is.

Italians are also the least likely to think their country has benefited from EU membership (44 percent agree while 41 percent disagree), and twice as many think the EU is going in the wrong direction (49 percent) as the right one (24 percent).

When it comes to the longer term, overall, more Europeans think the bloc is headed in the wrong direction (42 percent) than in the right direction (32 percent).

Greeks were most down on Europe, with 68 percent of those questioned answering “wrong direction.” The most positive country was Ireland, with two-thirds of respondents saying their country and the EU are moving in the right direction. [...]

Full article on POLITICO

Parliament Eurobarometer survey


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