Public opinion ahead of the 2014 European election

With the run-up to the European Elections on 22 May 2014 starting to pick up steam, and worries about an expected popular backlash against the European Project rising, the Library team is gathering sources of insight into the debate.

A divided Europe

Recent research at EUDO shows that the EU27-wide decline in trust in European institutions up to 2012 has been driven by the euro area Member States. However, a marked difference emerges when comparing eight core countries, where the decline has only been moderate, with Portugal, Ireland and especially Spain and Greece, where the loss of trust has been much more pronounced and departed from the countries’ long term trend curve:

table 1

In addition, the decline in trust in national institutions seems stronger in the four periphery countries.  The study also showed a strong correlation between unemployment and the levels of trust, which had not been significant in the case of the EP and EC before the crisis.

The European Parliament has recently published its Eurobarometer survey ‘One year to go to the 2014 European elections’. The fieldwork was carried out in June 2013. After a first instalment devoted to institutional issues, the latest analysis looks at how Europeans feel about the  economic and social situation. The underlying long-term trends identified in the survey confirm an increasing polarization of opinion on EU issues along euro-ins and outs and along socio-democraphic variables:

  • there is a difference of 14 percentage points over the issue of whether economic measures should be applied ‘in a coordinated way’ with the other EU countries (55% in favour in the euro zone and 41% in the non-euro zone) or whether they should be applied ‘individually’ (euro zone 36%; non-euro zone 49%).
  • More men than women believe that the euro has mitigated the negative effects of the crisis.
  • The least privileged do not believe the EU enables them to benefit from the positive effects of globalisation or to protect them against its negative effects.
  • there are extremely significant differences of opinion between nationals of the countries hardest hit by the crisis and those of the other Member States.

(this post is the first in a series that looks at public opinion in Europe ahead of the European Elections in 2014)

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