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Europeans and energy (part II)
 
 

Europeans and energy (part II)

 

This Eurobarometer of the European Parliament dedicated to energy follows a previous survey published in January 2011 in view of the European Council of 4 February (EB Standard 74.3). This survey dealt with energy supply, cooperation and solidarity.

Considering the new positions adopted by the European Parliament, this new survey focuses on more specific themes, but also extremely important for the development of an energy policy of the Union: energy savings, energy supply difficulties, integration of networks and the European Community for energy. The fieldwork was conducted by TNS Opinion between 9 February and 6 March 2011, in a context of a hard winter and an increase of all raw materials prices.

it's important to note that both surveys share a common point: the results highlight again how the energy culture and the energy situation of each EU Member States influence the answers of the interviewed citizens.

Two socio-demographic aspects of this current survey have to be kept in mind: on the one hand, apart from a few exceptions, there are few differences between the answers of men and women; on the other hand, the results illustrate a real generational gap which is evident in both behaviour and perception of the energy problems.

On energy savings, European citizens prefer measures without a financial impact.

  • The priority is given to domestic savings: decrease of use of lightings and of electric appliances (55%), and reduction of heating or air conditioning (43%).
  • The context is unfavourable to expensive measures: insulation of the house (19%) purchase of a more ecological car (6%).
  • The awareness related to savings made on the road is to be improved: less frequent use of their car (19%), more frequent use of public transport (14%) and reduction of driving speed (10%).
  • Europeans who did "nothing" to change their behaviour towards energy savings are a significant number (14%).

Respondents give the priority to practical measures to reduce the energy bill.

  • They want to be able to daily measure their energy consumption thanks to "smart" meters (47%).
  • They expect the establishment of a tax incentive (40%).
  • They are in favour of the creation of conditions for energy providers to compete (36%).
  • They support the improvement of energy bill transparency and simplification (23%).

Europeans want the objective of 20% of energy savings to be made compulsory (80% of "yes").

Europeans support the fighting against the energy precariousness (81% of "yes").

Assets of a European integrated energy network

  • It would imply a reduction of energy costs (59%).
  • It would encourage a better use of various types of energy (47%).
  • It would make the delivery of energy safer (35%).
  • It would enhance EU capacity to negotiate major contracts with countries outside its borders (28%).
  • It would contribute to increase solidarity among the EU Member States (25%).

Respondents show a massive support to the establishment of a European Energy Community (78% "agree").

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The EP and the expectations of European citizens

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

This is a means of keeping Parliament in touch with people's perceptions and expectations of its work and that of the European Union generally. The surveys are also extremely useful at the preparation, decision-making and evaluation stages of parliamentary business.

Readers will find them a source of information not only about attitudes in the EU to climate change or the current economic situation but also about how people see - and what they expect from - European elections, the European Parliament and European integration in general.