Millions of voters in the 28 member states of the European Union will head to the polls later this month to cast their ballots in the elections to the European Parliament, yet they overwhelmingly think that their voice is not heard in Brussels, according to survey published by Pew Research, a Washington-based organisation which describes itself as a “fact-tank.”
Majorities in most countries complain that the EU does not understand their needs and is intrusive and inefficient.
They express little enthusiasm for giving the EU greater power on economic issues.
The survey says: “Concern about immigration adds to the public’s disgruntlement. Majorities in Italy, Greece, France and the UK, express a desire to curb immigration, in part because many believe that immigrants fail to assimilate, and that they take citizens’ jobs and government social benefits.”
Moreover, “in most of the countries surveyed, ratings for the EU have yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Italians are increasingly critical of the institution and are divided over whether to keep using the euro as their currency. And Greeks, who have suffered most from the economic downturn, remain deeply sceptical of many aspects of the European project.”
Yet the survey shows “support for the European Union may be rebounding just in time for the European Parliament elections. After a dramatic decline in the wake of the euro crisis, EU favourability is now on the rise in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. And faith in one of the EU’s founding principles – that European economic integration is good for their own country – is up in the UK, Poland and Germany.”
Conflicting national politics complicate the upcoming elections: “In the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Germany, people on the right of the political spectrum are generally more judgmental of the EU.”
“In Greece and Spain, the institution’s strongest critics are on the left.”
The survey covered 7,022 people in seven European Union member countries – France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom – conducted from March 17 to April 9, 2014.