What matters most to young Europeans?

Youth Lithuania

Group photo with students, Members of the Representation of the EU and Jean-Claude Juncker, 2nd from the left in the 4th row. © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Etienne Ansotte .

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming Writer , Formative Content

Human rights and peace are the social issues that matter most to young Europeans.

That was one of the findings of a survey for German thinktank TUI Stiftung, which aimed to gauge young people’s attitudes to the European Union in 2018.

Pollster YouGov quizzed a total of 6,080 people aged 16-26 from seven EU countries – France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK – on a range of topics including which social values were most important to them.

Overall, human rights and peace mattered most, though there were exceptions. Young people in Spain and the UK considered tolerance more important than peace, while in Poland safety was the top priority.

Image: Statista

EU support rises among young people

The survey also revealed that support for the EU is rising among young people in all seven countries polled, compared to 2017 levels.

According to the report, hypothetically, if these countries were to hold national referendums about EU membership today, 71% of the respondents would vote to stay, up from only 61% in 2017.

Interestingly, the rise in “remainers” was smallest in the UK – which voted to leave the EU in 2016 – with an increase of just five percentage points.

The share of young people who describe themselves as Europeans as well as citizens of their country has also increased, from 45% in 2017 to 52% in 2018, the report says.

This trend was particularly pronounced in France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Young Europeans’ views of the relationship between their country and the EU have changed, too. The report found that in 2018 35% believed their country and the EU needed each other equally, compared to 29% in 2017

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