According to the new Eurobarometer, Europeans still have a positive view of the EU, but call for reforms. This research shows high levels of support for the EU, despite the pandemic. More than 50% of European citizens are experiencing the impact of the pandemic more and more on their personal and economic lives. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 31% of Europeans have already seen their financial situation negatively affected during the pandemic. In Cyprus the percentage is 43%. With regard to lockdown measures, citizens believe that the expected health benefits outweigh the economic damage. In our country the percentage is 54%, despite the negative economic impact of the pandemic. Eight out of ten Europeans know what the EU has done since last summer – but only half approve of its handling. 63% of Cypriot citizens say they are satisfied with the measures, while 36% are dissatisfied.
Despite the fluctuations observed between Member States, the positive assessment of the EU image remains at one of the highest levels recorded in the last decade. 48% of Cypriot respondents have a positive image of the EU, 35% have a neutral image, while only 17% of citizens have a negative image. In terms of health, vaccinations and more crisis response responsibilities as key EU priorities, 86% of Cypriot respondents want the EU to have more responsibility for crisis management such as the Covid-19 pandemic, including 55% who “agree absolutely “with the idea. Regarding the areas in which the EU should give priority to fighting the pandemic, 38% of Cypriot respondents cited as the most important the need to enable Member States to support companies and workers affected by the pandemic, and 36% support investing more resources in the economy for equitable and sustainable development in all EU Member States. Also 36% of Cypriots call for more money to be spent on developing treatments and vaccines. 32% of respondents choose to develop a European health policy.
Citizens express the desire that Parliament should give priority to public health but also to fight poverty and climate change. Public health is in first place for Cyprus with 72%.
Details of what is mentioned in the Eurobarometer:
The European Parliament's latest survey shows high levels of support for the EU despite the pandemic, but more than 50% of Europeans are experiencing its impact on their economic situation.
A new Eurobarometer survey (by the European Parliament, data collection: March – April 2021) shows that EU citizens are increasingly feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their personal lives and financial situation. Citizens place public health, the fight against poverty and support for the economy and work at the top of the European Parliament's list of priorities. 8 out of 10 respondents say they are aware of how the EU is dealing with the effects of the pandemic and the EP Eurobarometer for Spring 2021 generally shows strong support for the European Union, as well as a broad consensus that global challenges such as the pandemic Covid-19, are best treated when treated at European level.
The impact of C ovid-19 on their financial situation has been or is expected to be experienced by more than half of Europeans
At the end of the first quarter of 2021, 31% of Europeans have already seen their financial situation negatively affected during the pandemic. This percentage amounts to 50% for Greece and 43% in Cyprus . A further 26% expect this to happen – with respondents saying 30% in Greece and 16% in Cyprus. The total of 57% who answered in these two ways represents the majority of citizens at EU level. Close to the European average is the percentage of respondents in Cyprus (59%), while respondents in Greece have a clearly more negative picture, with the percentage to amount to 80%.
With regard to lockdown measures, citizens believe that the expected health benefits outweigh the economic damage.
Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, the majority of respondents (58%) believe that the health benefits of the restrictive measures in their country outweigh the economic damage they may have caused. 55% of citizens in Greece and 54% in Cyprus seem to agree with this statement. Citizens in most EU countries have the same opinion, which indicates a change in the attitude of citizens compared to the second half of 2020, when a small majority of citizens thought that the economic damage was more significant, according to an EP survey. .
Eight out of ten Europeans know what the EU has done since last summer – but only half approve of its handling
Europeans are well aware of the European Union's efforts to combat the C ovid-19 pandemic and its consequences: 8 out of 10 Europeans (84% in Greece, 85% in Cyprus) have heard, seen or read something about EU measures or actions in response to the pandemic, while almost half of respondents (48%) at European level know what these measures are . However, despite this high percentage of information, only 48% of EU citizens on average say they are satisfied with the measures (41% and 63% in Greece and Cyprus respectively), while 50% are dissatisfied, a figure of 58%. % for Greece and 36% for Cyprus. Similarly, only 44% of EU citizens (37% of respondents in Greece and 59% in Cyprus) say they are satisfied with the degree of solidarity between Member States in the fight against the pandemic.
Despite the fluctuations, support for the EU remains very strong
Despite the short-term fluctuations as well as the differences observed between Member States, the positive assessment of the EU image remains at one of the highest levels recorded in the last decade. On average in the EU, half of citizens (48%) have a positive image of the EU. An additional 35% have a neutral image, while only 17% say their image of the EU is negative. These percentages coincide with the percentages of respondents in Cyprus. In Greece, 40% of respondents have a positive image, with 36% stating that they have a neutral image and 24% a negative one. This research reaffirms the steadily growing and strong positive trend towards the image of the EU over the last ten years, despite the pandemic and its consequences for the lives of European citizens.
The combination of the sometimes critical attitude of citizens towards the implementation of certain anti-crisis measures with the long-term positive trend and fundamental support in the European Union also justifies the clear and ever-present call for EU reform: 70% of respondents (64% in Greece and 65% in Cyprus) say in this survey that they are generally in favor of the EU. However, less than a quarter of Europeans (23%) are in favor of the EU “as it has been so far” – noting a drop of four points from November / December 2020. About half of respondents (47%) say they are “in favor of the EU, but not as it has been so far”. This percentage is close to the respective percentages in Greece and Cyprus (49% and 48%). Moreover, in Greece and Cyprus, only 15% and 17% respectively are in favor of the EU “as it has been formed so far”.
Health, vaccinations and more responsibilities in dealing with crises as key EU priorities
74% of Europeans (77% of respondents in Greece, 86% in Cyprus) want the EU to have more responsibilities in dealing with crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, including a 28% who “totally agree” with the idea (29% in Greece, 55% in Cyprus).
Asked about areas where the EU should prioritize the fight against pandemics, Europeans cited rapid access to safe and effective vaccines for all EU citizens as the most important (39%). The list of priorities is the allocation of more money to the development of treatments and vaccines (29%), the establishment of a European crisis management strategy (28%) and the development of a European health policy (25%).
In Greece, in the first place, with 44%, are equal the need to enable the Member States to support companies and employees affected by the pandemic (in the first place and in Cyprus with 38%) and to invest more resources in the economy for a fair and sustainable development in all EU Member States (36% in Cyprus). Also 36% in Cyprus request the allocation of more money in the development of treatments and vaccines (28% in Greece). In second place is in Greece the rapid access to safe and effective vaccines (33%), In third place for both countries is the development of a European health policy (Greece 29%, Cyprus 32%).
Parliament must prioritize public health but also fight poverty and climate change
Specifically with regard to their expectations from the European Parliament, citizens express the desire of their elected representatives to give priority to public health (49%). They are followed by the fight against poverty and social exclusion (39%), measures to support the economy and job creation (also by 39%), as well as action against climate change (34%).
Taking measures to support the economy and create jobs ranks higher in the list of priorities that MEPs should have in Greece and Cyprus, where it ranks first and second respectively (67% Greece, 57% Cyprus) . Public health ranks first for Cyprus (72%) and second for Greece (60%), while measures against poverty and social exclusion rank third for both countries, with similar rates (54%). in Greece, 53% in Cyprus).
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