Open Europe Blog

The latest Eurobarometer is out, and as per tradition, the European Commission does its best to spin the findings of a survey that, particularly since the eurozone crisis broke out, hardly makes for happy reading.

The press release accompanying the latest Eurobarometer carries the headline, “A greater dose of optimism”, which is justified by the fact that “those saying they are optimistic about the EU’s future outnumber those who say they are pessimistic in 19 out of 28 countries”.

Now, here are a couple of findings from the same survey that you won’t find in the European Commission’s press release (but are available here):

  • The number of those who “tend not to trust” the EU is again at 60% – a +3% increase from the previous survey. The total figure includes 83% of Cypriots (+19% from the previous survey), 80% of Greeks (-1%), 75% of Spaniards (+3%) and 71% of Portuguese (+13%). To be fair, the level of confidence in national governments/parliaments in these countries is even lower – but that shouldn’t be of great consolation.
  • On the question “do you feel a citizen of the EU?”, a majority (62%) of respondents agree, although in three countries more people disagreed than agreed with this statement. That this includes the UK may not be a big surprise, but that Greece and Cyprus are on there as well shows how badly the crisis management has tarnished the EU’s reputation.

  • A relative majority of Europeans have a neutral image of the EU (39%, =), and the proportion of respondents for whom it conjures up a positive image continues to be just higher than the proportion for whom it is negative (30% positive, unchanged; 29% negative, unchanged). Again, in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal a majority (sometimes relative, sometimes absolute) of respondents have “a negative image” of the EU.
  • Two-thirds of Europeans say that their voice does not count in the EU (67%), a 3-point increase taking this score to its highest level since autumn 2004 when the question was first asked. This proportion has increased almost continuously since spring 2009, from 53%. Only just over a quarter of respondents (28%, -3) agree that their voice counts in the EU.
  • 49% of total respondents don’t think the EU “makes the quality of life better in Europe”, compared with 43% who think it does.
  • On the euro, public opinion is hugely divided with only a 9% net approval rating – 51%, support it and 42% oppose it. In countries that are euro members approval stands at 62% (down 4% since Autumn 2012) but only at 29% in non-euro countries. 
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