Latest Eurobarometer survey (July-August): Economic situation is EU citizens’ top concern in light of the coronavirus pandemic

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


In a troubled period marked by the coronavirus pandemic, trust in the EU remains stable and Europeans trust the EU to make the right decisions in response to the pandemic in the future. In the new Standard Eurobarometer survey released today, European citizens identify the economic situation, the state of Member States’ public finances and immigration as the three top concerns at EU level. The economic situation is also the main concern at national level, followed by health and unemployment.

In the new Eurobarometer conducted in July and August, concern about the economic situation is reflected in the perception of the current state of the economy. 64% of Europeans think that the situation is ‘bad’ and 42% of Europeans think that their country’s economy will recover from the adverse effects of the coronavirus outbreak ‘in 2023 or later’.

Europeans are divided (45% ‘satisfied’ vs 44% ‘not satisfied’) regarding the measures taken by the EU to fight the pandemic. However, 62% say they trust the EU to make the right decisions in the future, and 60% remain optimistic about the future of the EU.

  1. Trust and image of the EU

Trust in the European Union has remained stable since autumn 2019 at 43%, despite variations of public perceptions during the pandemic. Trust in national governments and parliaments has increased (40%, +6 percentage points and 36%, +2 respectively).

In 15 Member States, a majority of respondents says they trust the EU, with the highest levels observed in Ireland (73%), Denmark (63%) and Lithuania (59%). The lowest levels of trust in the EU are observed in Italy (28%), France (30%) and Greece (32%).

The proportion of respondents with a positive image of the EU is the same as that with a neutral image (40%). 19% of respondents have a negative image of the EU (-1 percentage points).

In 13 EU Member States, a majority of respondents has a positive image of the EU, with the highest proportions observed in Ireland (71%), Poland and Portugal (both 55%). In 13 other Member States, the EU conjures up a predominantly neutral image for respondents, with the highest proportions observed in Malta (56%), Spain, Latvia and Slovenia (all 48%).

  1. Main concerns at EU and national level

Citizens mentioned the economic situation as the most pressing issue facing the EU – over one-third (35%) of all respondents, a strong increase of 16 percentage points since autumn 2019, and rise from third to first concern. Concern about the economic situation has not been this high since spring 2014.

Europeans are also increasingly concerned about the state of Member States’ public finances (23%, +6 percentage points, the highest level since spring 2015), which moves from fifth to second place on a par with immigration (23%, -13 percentage points), the latter now being at the lowest level since autumn 2014.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, health (22%, new item) is the  fourth most mentioned concern at EU level. The issue of the environment and climate change has lost ground, down 8 percentage points to 20%, followed by unemployment (17%, +5 percentage points).

Similarly, the economic situation (33%, +17 percentage points) has overtaken health as the most important issue at national level, rising from seventh to first position. Although in second position, health has had a notable increase in mentions since autumn 2019 (31%, +9 percentage points), taking it to its highest ever level over the past six years.

Unemployment has also increased considerably in importance (28%, +8 percentage points), followed by rising prices/inflation/cost of living (18%, -2 percentage points), the environment and climate change (14%, -6 percentage points) and government debt (12%, +4 percentage points). Mentions of immigration (11%, -5 percentage points), are at their lowest level for the past six years.

  1. The current economic situation

Since autumn 2019, the proportion of Europeans who think that the current situation of their national economy is ‘good’ (34%, -13 percentage points) has declined considerably, while the proportion of respondents who judge this situation to be ‘bad’ has increased sharply (64%, +14 percentage points).

At national level, a majority of respondents in 10 countries says that the national economic situation is good (down from 15 in autumn 2019). The proportion of respondents who say the situation of their national economy is good ranges from 83% in Luxembourg to 9% in Greece.

  1. The coronavirus pandemic and public opinion in the EU

Europeans are divided on the measures taken by the EU institutions to fight the coronavirus outbreak (45% ‘satisfied’ vs 44% ‘not satisfied’). However, a majority of respondents in 19 Member States is satisfied with the measures taken by the European Union institutions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The highest positive figures are found in Ireland (71%); Hungary, Romania and Poland (all 60%). In seven countries, a majority of respondents is ‘not satisfied’, especially in Luxembourg (63%), Italy (58%), Greece and Czechia (both 55%) and Spain (52%). In Austria, equal proportions of respondents are satisfied, and not satisfied (both 47%).

However, more than six Europeans in ten trust the EU to make the right decisions in the future (62%). The most frequently mentioned priorities for the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic are: establish a strategy for facing a similar crisis in the future and develop financial means to find a treatment or vaccine (each 37%). 30% think that developing a European health policy should be a priority.

Europeans’ personal experiences of confinement measures were very diverse. Overall, close to three Europeans in ten say that it was fairly easy to cope with (31%), while a quarter say it was fairly difficult to cope with (25%). Finally, 30% say that it was ‘both easy and difficult to cope with’.

  1. Key policy areas

Asked about the objectives of the European Green Deal, Europeans continue identifying ‘developing renewable energy‘ and ‘fighting against plastic waste and leading on the issue of single-use of plastic’ as the top priorities. More than one third think the top priority should be supporting EU farmers (38%) or promoting the circular economy (36%). Just over three in ten think reducing energy consumption (31%) should be the top priority.

Support for the Economic and Monetary Union and for the euro remains high, with 75% of respondents in the Euro area in favour of the EU’s single currency. In the EU27 as a whole, support for the euro has increased to 67% (+5).

  1. EU citizenship and European democracy

A majority of people in 26 EU Member States (except Italy) and 70% across the EU feel that they are citizens of the EU. At a national level the highest scores are observed in Ireland and Luxembourg (both 89%), Poland (83%), Slovakia and Germany (both 82%), Lithuania (81%), Hungary, Portugal and Denmark (all 80%).

A majority of Europeans (53%) say they are satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU. The proportion of respondents who are ‘not satisfied’ has increased, by 3 percentage points since autumn 2019 to 43%.

  1. Optimism for the future of the EU

Finally, in this troubled period, 60% of Europeans say they are optimistic about the future of the EU. The highest scores for optimism are observed in Ireland (81%), Lithuania and Poland (both 75%) and Croatia (74%). The lowest levels of optimism are seen in Greece (44%) and Italy (49%), where pessimism outweighs optimism, and France, where opinion is evenly divided (49% vs 49%).

Background

The ‘Summer 2020 – Standard Eurobarometer’ (EB 93) was conducted face-to-face and exceptionally completed with online interviews between 9 July and 26 August 2020, across the 27 EU Member States, in the United Kingdom and in the candidate countries[1]. 26,681 interviews were conducted in the 27 Member States.

For More Information

Standard Eurobarometer 93

[1] The 27 European Union (EU) Member States, United Kingdom, five candidate countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) and the Turkish Cypriot Community in the part of the country that is not controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in Morocco

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Austerity lovers and ‘relaxationists’ fight over the EU budget

New Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/EU Partnership: moving forward towards a new partnership fit for the future

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

Onagawa’s spirit of togetherness: lessons from the 2011 tsunami

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

6 stages for fostering and harnessing imagination in companies

Bill Gates’ top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2019

Industrial producer prices on free fall and stagnant output

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

Vienna has the world’s best quality of living

Sudzha gas metering station at Russian-Ukrainian border (Copyright: Gazprom, 2015 / Gazprom’s website, Media)

Gazprom starts suspending gas contracts with Ukraine as Brussels fears limited transit to Europe

How leaders can harness the power of finance and technology for social good

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Here’s how drone delivery will change the face of global logistics

These are the world’s best countries to retire in, as of 2019

European Commission authorises second safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

These photos show some of the world’s smallest things massively magnified

MEPs approve boost to workers’ rights in the gig economy

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

How COVID-19 is throttling vital migration flows

Here’s what happened when one Guatemalan town went to war on plastic waste

Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

What can consumers do to help solve the climate change crisis?

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Commission welcomes European Parliament’s approval of Recovery and Resilience Facility

Welcome to the age of the platform nation

‘Answer the call of Afghans’ to reduce impact of conflict, UN urges all parties amid increase in civilian airstrike deaths

‘Comprehensively include migrants’ or sustainable development won’t happen, warns General Assembly President

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

This project in India is turning PPE into mattresses

International community renews commitment to multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

EU presses India for a free trade agreement

Heat-resistant crops, ‘green’ infrastructure, can prepare Near East and North Africa to better tackle droughts – UN agency

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

Ebola: EU provides an additional €30 million to tackle the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

6 ways the COVID-19 pandemic could change our approach to human capital

How drones in cities can help distribute medical supplies

G20 LIVE: “Our response needs to be robust…otherwise we will only find the fire we are trying to put out”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon just lit up G20 in Antalya Turkey

Spain locks down, Denmark shuts borders – today’s COVID-19 updates and expert analysis

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Are we at the edge of anti-vaccination health crisis?

European Ombudsman: new rules to protect Europeans from maladministration

This chart shows how global debt comes in waves – and, right now, we’re in the middle of the biggest one yet

Over 1 million health consultations provided in Yemen in 2019: UN migration agency

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

International tourism is set to plunge by 80% this year – but some regions could recover more quickly

If Macron defies Britain about the banks, Paris and London to clash over ‘La Manche’

Why we need a blockchain bill of rights

The EU patent space and Unified Court are born

EU Member States test their cybersecurity preparedness for free and fair EU elections

4 ways the circular economy can help heavy industry reduce emissions

Concern rising over fate of Rohingya refugees sent home by India: UNHCR

World Maritime Day: Commissioner Vălean calls for support and safe return of seafarers

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s