A European spring? Latest Eurobarometer Poll shows EU Optimism is on the rise
In spite of strong nationalist or populist movements in most European countries, more Europeans than ever (68%) consider themselves more a citizen of the EU than of their respective countries, according to the latest Standard Eurobarometer poll. Slightly fewer, 56%, responded as being optimistic about the EU’s future, a 6% increase from fall 2016. Significant increases were seen in France, Denmark, and Portugal, who’s political optimism regarding the EU improved 14, 13, and 10 points respectively. Trust in EU politics also improved significantly, up from 32% in 2015 to 42%. These stand just above trust in national governments and parliaments, currently at 37% and 36%, respectively.
The poll also collected data on perceived challenges to the EU. Topping all other issues on the list is terrorism (cited by 44% of all respondents as a leading challenge), while immigration dropped to second place after three years in the top position (38%). The economic situation (18%), the state of member states’ public finances (17%), and unemployment (15%) all saw their percentages drop or remain the same. At the national level, however, top concerns are unemployment (29%) and immigration (22%), followed by health and social security (20%), terrorism (19%), and the economic situation (now at 16%, but previously the top issue in 2011).