People losing faith in the European Union

By group 3: Maria Averina, O-P Asikainen

According to the survey by the Pew Research Center, with the participation of eight European countries, such as: Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Europe’s debt crisis has shaken the confidence of its citizens in the European Union, and in addition increased the distrust between key countries. The project involved 7,646 people in Europe, the survey was conducted from March 2 to March 27, 2013.

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Analysts pointed out that the European project now has the dubious reputation throughout Europe.

The main result of the study was the fact that the level of approval of the EU fell by 15 percentage-points over the past year – from 60 percent in 2012 to 45 percent now.

“No European country is becoming more dispirited and more disillusioned faster than France” – the authors conclude by emphasizing that French citizens are quickly losing confidence in the economy and leadership abilities of their President Francois Hollande and in total commitment to the EU countries.

Despite the fact that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is often exhibited in a negative light in some EU countries, respondents, and not only in Germany, consider her as the most powerful leader of the surveyed eight European Union countries. Merkel remains the most popular head of government in Europe – 74 percent of respondents said that she is doing a good job during the crisis, thought  last year the number were higher – 80 percent thought so. Less rated leaders – representatives of the Czech Republic, Greece and Italy.

Only people in Germany revealed that they consider the economic situation as positive. According to a survey this year  75% of the Germans have positive view on economic conditions compared with 63% in 2007.

All other countries are pessimistic about the economic situation. In Spain, the number has dropped by 61 percentage-points and remains at the level of 4 % this year.

“Overall, the 2013 survey highlights more starkly than ever the differences between the views of Germans and other Europeans”, – the authors wrote, pointing to the confidence of the Germans with regard to personal finances, and the future of European integration.
In the past three years, Europe’s problems are often attributed to “euro crisis”: people are afraid that a country may refuse to use the currency or the whole system will collapse.
A positive aspect is that the majority of Europeans want to support the euro currency. So in Greece, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, on average about 66% of the residents want to keep the euro. Also in the Italian and the Spanish were more supportive towards euro.

 

Attitudes in Finland

In Finland and other Nordic countries attitudes towards the EU have traditionally been quite positive generally speaking, but the costly bailouts of the failing economies in southern Europe have eroded people’s faith in the Union. In a survey done by Taloustutkimus in 2012, over 67 % of the Finnish people answering the survey either agreed or strongly agreed that other euro countries shouldn’t have to pay for the economic problems of individual member countries.

Despite this, the 2012 Eurobarometer shows that 52 % Finnish people are still satisfied with how democracy works in the EU, compared to 45 % who are unsatisfied. Only 31 % of Finns thought that Finland could better face the future without the European Union.

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