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One year to go to the 2014 european elections: Parlemeter part
 
 

One year to go to the 2014 european elections: Parlemeter part

 

With six month go until the 2014 European elections, this European Parliament-commissioned Eurobarometer survey looks at the knowledge and perceptions the Euopean have from the European Parliament.

This is the third part of the EP Eurobarometer survey entitled ‘One year to go to the 2014 European elections’. The first part (on institutional issues) was published on 5 September 2013 and the second one (economic & social issues) on 18 October 2013. The fieldwork was carried out between 7 and 23 June 2013.

The survey was conducted using face-to-face methods by TNS Opinion in the 28 EU Member States, with 27 624 respondents. The results are shown either for the EU-28 (in the case of new questions) or in the form of EU-27 trends.

Main findings

  • More than a third of Europeans are aware that the next European elections will be held in 2014/May 2014.
  • The trend regarding European Parliament’s overall image has been reversed since November 2012: the positive image/negative image ratio has been reversed and is now positive again. A relative majority of respondents consider that the European Parliament conjures up a positive image.
  • In many other respects, however, the proportion of positive opinions has decreased, which may be due to a changed context. At the time of the last Parlemeter (mid-November/early December 2012), the European Parliament had been very much in the news because of the highly controversial debates on the programming of the EU budget, as well as issues such as bank supervision, the growth pact, banking union and the recapitalisation of banks, etc.
    - Half of Europeans do not now recall having recently come across anything in the media about the EP. This “media recall” is at its lowest level since January-February 2009, a few months before the 2009 European elections.
    - Interest in European affairs fell significantly between November 2012 and June 2013.
  • In the context of the current crisis, among the topics or policy areas debated in the European Parliament on which respondents would like to have more information, it is unsurprising that an "investment plan to create new jobs, including jobs for young people" tops the list (mentioned by just under a third of respondents), with "your rights as a European citizen" and "EU solutions to tackle the crisis (sharing the debt, Eurobonds, TFT, etc.)". These topics are closely followed by "the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax havens".
  • The role currently played by the European Parliament is seen as "important" by three-quarters of respondents, and has remained relatively stable over the long term. When respondents were asked to spontaneously mention three European institutions, the results are very stable, with the European Parliament still the clear leader, mentioned by more than half of respondents.
  • Overall knowledge of the European Parliament’s powers is relatively unchanged: an absolute majority of Europeans know that European laws have to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Member States, that the budget is determined jointly by the EP and the Member States, that MEPs are elected by direct universal suffrage and that each Member State does not have the same number of MEPs.
  • Unsurprisingly, the "fight against poverty and social exclusion" is regarded as the priority policy, as was the case in previous surveys. The changes are relatively minor, but reveal a shift of priorities towards social issues.
  • And, more specifically, in times of crisis Europeans want jobs and tackling unemployment and economic and social issues to be prioritised.
  • The order of the values which the European Parliament should defend as a matter of priority changed between November 2012 and June 2013: "the protection of human rights" still ranks first, while "equality between men and women" advanced from third place (jointly with "freedom of speech") to second place (jointly with "solidarity between EU Member States" and "freedom of speech)".
 
 
 
The EP and the expectations of European citizens

The European Parliament regularly commissions surveys on public opinion in the 28 Member States.

These surveys cover a wide range of issues, focusing primarily on the European citizens' knowledge of the European Parliament, their perceptions of the EU and its main challenges, their expectations in view of the European elections, the European Parliament and the European integration in general.

The analysis of the results is meant to ensure the most complete overview of national evolutions, regional specificities, as well as socio-demographic differences and historical trends.