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In its latest EU-wide survey of citizens’ views, the EU’s spring ‘Euro barometer’ will not make for comfortable reading in Brussels. Despite the Eurorats’ usual attempts to extract some positives from the answers to its 29 questions with many possible answers for each, the simple fact is that only 23% of the 27 nation EU citizens said they’re in favour of the EU as it is today.
And of the 29 questions not one question was about the biggest event in recent EU history, the exit of the UK. The question asked was: ’Which of the following statements regarding the European Union is closest to your opinion?’
Only 23% of all EU 27 citizens chose ‘I’m in favour of the European Union as it has been realised so far’. This percentage has fallen by a further 4% from the 27% which the EU managed in the last survey, only three months previously despite the question being loaded in Brussels favour.
In some countries the response was even lower. For example only 15% of Italian and Greek citizens felt themselves able to give even this somewhat half-hearted endorsement. In terms of the EU’s image, less than half of them (48%) have a positive image of the EU. Of this 48%, only 7% had a ’very positive’ image with 41% being only ‘fairly positive’. In some countries it is far worse. In Austria, for example, only 34% have any kind of positive image at the entire EU.
Does the EU have a future? A third of EU citizens are negative. When asked about their level of optimism about the future of the European Union, only 6% of EU27 citizens described themselves as very optimistic. Over one-third (36%) of all EU citizens couldn’t muster any level of optimism about the future of the EU at all.
It gets worse. Half of EU27 nation citizens (49%) think the EU is going in the wrong direction. Only a third (34%) felt able to say they thought the EU’s direction was the right one for them.
The Brussels cult was much less popular than was the Soviet Bloc; think about that. What EU citizens think of the EU’s democratic deficit? When asked about democracy and the EU, only 3% (not a typo: only 3/100 were confident that there was democracy in the European Union. of EU27 citizens were able to pronounce themselves to be ‘very satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU’.
The lowest marks came from the French, where just 1% of French citizens declared that they were ‘very satisfied’ with the functioning of EU democracy.
When it comes to Covid-19, the EU also performs poorly in the survey. Only 48% of EU citizens are satisfied with the measures the EU has taken during the Covid crisis. Indeed less than half even know what the EU has been doing about this in the last 12 months.
Were there any questions about the more successful Brexit Britain? The answer is of course no, there were no questions about the most significant fall in the EU’s status and standing for many years. Not one.
Respondents were given no opportunity to express any views whatsoever on the departure on 31 December 2020 of a country representing 13% of the EU’s population and over 15% of the EU’s GDP. The economic impact of the UK’s departure was greater than the combined economic impact of the departure of 18 of the EU’s 27 countries, all at the same time. Yet it did not merit one single question in the EU’s survey of its citizens.
And finally, how did the EU choose to spin these dire results? In a typical example of the EU putting as positive a spin as possible on these results, its report describes them thus:
‘Despite short-term fluctuations and national variations, overall positive ratings for the EU’s image remain at one of their highest levels in over a decade.’ – EU Parliament statement, 03 June 2021.
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