- Frankly Speaking
- By Giles Merritt
Brussels, 17 October – What’s the deal? If the EU disappeared, would anyone care? The latest poll of EU citizens, commissioned by Brussels-based think tank, Friends of Europe sheds light on what Europeans want from the EU, in terms of priorities, tackling inequalities and having a bigger say.
In France, despite having a pro-EU president, 72% of citizens aren’t convinced their lives would be worse without the EU. In a surprising twist, Poland turned out to be the only country where a majority of the population was certain they would miss the EU.
“As it is, the EU isn’t working for citizens. They want a better EU,” stated Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe. “The first 100 days of the new EU mandate should demonstrate to citizens that reimagining and resetting the EU is the bold ambition. Trust matters.”
Key highlights from the poll include:
A message to Ursula: “Strengthening European identity” is NOT among the top ten priorities for citizens, only 18% selected it as a priority for the EU.
The Greta Effect: No surprise here. Safeguarding the environment and tackling climate change is the number one priority citizens want the EU to focus on.
The most divisive issue? Younger and older generations disagree about the importance of securing Europe’s borders. 22% of young people see this as a top priority, compared to 33% of the older generation.
Inequalities: Safety, healthcare, and income were the top three inequalities citizens want the EU to focus on.
Another interesting outtake? Young people care nearly twice as much about solving gender and LGBTQ+ inequalities compared to the older generation.
Power to the citizens: Nearly half (45%) of all citizens want a more direct say in the EU’s decisions – and according to them, the best way to involve them is via an online voting and debating platform on EU-wide policies.
“The idea of the EU was emboldened by the turnout in the recent elections. This gift of voter aspirations should not be squandered,” added Kanani.
The survey, commissioned by Friends of Europe and conducted by Dalia in September 2019, polled a representative and weighted sample of 12,263 Europeans in all 28 EU Member States.
Infographic of key highlight available here.
Country specific data available upon request.
- By Jamie Shea
- By Teresa Carvalho
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
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