EU survey confirms citizens’ call for EU to have more powers to tackle pandemic
23 Nov 2020 12:03 PM
In the grip of the second wave of coronavirus, two thirds of EU citizens call for more EU competence and an EU budget with sufficient means to tackle the crisis.
The European Parliament recently (20 November 2020) released the full results of its third survey this year asking European citizens their views on the Coronavirus crisis and their attitudes towards the European Union. Although 50% of Europeans feel ‘uncertainty’ again as their key emotional state as the economic impact of the pandemic takes its toll, more people now have a positive image of the EU than in the Spring.
With an increasing number of EU citizens feeling uncertain about their future, two thirds of respondents (66%) agreed that the EU should have more competences to deal with the pandemic. In addition, a majority of respondents (54%) think that the EU should have greater financial means to tackle the consequences of the pandemic.
However, it is of the utmost importance to EU citizens that EU funds only go to Members States with a functioning judicial system and a robust respect of shared European democratic values. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) agree that the EU should only provide funds to Member States conditional upon their government’s implementation of the rule of law and of democratic principles. Public health should be the key spending priority, followed by economic recovery and new opportunities for businesses (42%), climate change and environmental protection (37%) as well as employment and social affairs (35%).
Attitudes towards the EU have become more positive in comparison with the first survey in April/May 2020 this year. The proportion of respondents who hold a positive image of the EU has increased steadily, from only 31% in April 2020 to 41% in the present survey. However, a majority of respondents remain dissatisfied with the solidarity, or lack thereof, between EU Member States. Around half of the respondents (49%) say they are satisfied with the measures their government has taken so far against the Coronavirus pandemic, while a similar proportion (48%) are not satisfied. Attitudes have become more negative since the last wave of the survey, with a fall in satisfaction with government measures.
EU-wide, more than a third of respondents (39%) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted on their personal income. A further 27% say that they expect such an impact on their finances in the future. Young people and families with children appear to be hit worst by the crisis: 64% of citizens between 16 and 34 years have experienced some form of financial difficulties, 27% of respondents with children have used their personal savings sooner than planned. In five Member States (Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Romania and Bulgaria) more than half of respondents say that the pandemic has already affected their personal income.
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