PRESS RELEASE | Reality Check: 64% of Europeans aren’t convinced life would be worse without the EU

In the news

Brussels, 11 October – Europeans aren’t sure the EU is working for them, according to a poll commissioned by Brussels-based think tank, Friends of Europe. Trust and ownership are key issues, with more than a third of Europeans calling for more transparency in how the EU is spending money, and 41% wanting to vote on EU-wide policy decisions. The ray of hope? Under 35-year olds are the Union’s biggest supporters, with 41% thinking their life would be worse without it.

Without change and reform, the EU will remain irrelevant to a majority of its citizens,” adds Pascal Lamy, Trustee of Friends of Europe.

Other key highlights from the survey of over 10,000 citizens include: 

When asked to choose what the main purpose of the EU should be

  • 27% chose ‘Value Setter’: an EU that promotes values and democracy across Europe
  • 22% chose ‘Global Balancer’: an EU that gives Europe a bigger say in world affairs
  • 31% chose ‘Market Maker’: an EU that improves economic growth for EU member states
  • 10% chose ‘Transacter’: an EU that limits its focus to a free market for goods and services in Europe
  • 11% chose none of the given options

Europeans don’t want ‘less Europe’

  • 90% of EU citizens feel that the EU should be more than just a single market
  • 81% of EU citizens don’t think the EU should prioritise leaving more decision-making to national governments, which suggests that national sovereignty isn’t an issue for the majority

Europeans want the EU to focus on policies they care about
Keeping peace, creating jobs and tackling climate change are the core actions the EU should prioritise according to a plurality of Europeans

The results show that there is consistency of view across citizens, regardless of age, gender, education and urban or rural splits of what the key issues are for the EU to contend with and what it should be about.

The citizen survey is part of the organisation’s #EuropeMatters campaign – a 12-month project that will culminate in a set of concrete policy recommendations and a call to action ahead of the European elections to align the future we face with the future we want. The results were unveiled today at the organisation’s annual high-level flagship roundtable, State of Europe.

Editor’s note:
The survey, commissioned by Friends of Europe and conducted by Dalia in September 2018, polled 10,960 citizens. It is representative and weighted according to country populations, covering all member states, therefore a representative sample of citizen views across the EU

Country specific data available upon request.

About Friends of Europe:
Friends of Europe is a leading think tank that connects people, stimulates debate and triggers change to create a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-looking Europe.

Contact details: 
Angela Pauly, Head of Communications
Friends of Europe
+32 495 687 481

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