Public confidence in the EU and its Parliament continues to grow
The share of EU citizens who believe that their country has benefitted from EU membership is 64%, an increase of four percentage points compared to 2016. In Malta this percentage shoots up to 89% with the majority of respondents on this being of the opinion that the EU contributes to economic growth in our country.
• Parlemeter opinion poll of citizens’ views on European Union and European Parliament
• 64% say their country has benefitted from EU membership
• EU membership a good thing say 57%
In the latest European Parliament survey, 57% say EU membership is good for their country - a share that is almost back at its pre-crisis level. In Malta, 64% feel that EU membership is a good thing.
The 2017 Parlemeter poll was held among 27,881 citizens in the 28 member states. 47% feel that their voice counts in the EU, the best result since the European elections 2009. 51% of Maltese respondents feel their voice counts in the EU, though 40% disagree totally.
The Parlemeter survey takes a close look at citizens’ views on EU membership and its benefits, whether their voice counts in the EU and on their attitudes towards the European Parliament, its priorities, actions and mission. The survey confirms the citizens’ increasingly favourable view of the EU, continuing a trend visible in surveys since 2016.
EP President Antonio Tajani said: “The result of the survey is very positive and encouraging. The poll shows that the confidence in our institutions and our work continues to rise and that we are leaving the crisis of recent years behind. People increasingly see the EU as a core player when it comes to tackling the big challenges and to protecting them against common threats such as terrorism, unemployment or poverty and exclusion. For us, as the people’s Parliament, that means we need to deliver and that we will work even harder to fulfil people’s hopes and expectations. I also take the results of the survey as a mandate for the European Parliament to continue to play a key role in shaping the EU’s future. The best forum for debate on what the EU should look like, what tasks it should perform, or what powers it should have, is here, in the European Parliament.”
Parliament finds favour
46% of Maltese respondents have a positive image of parliament, compared to 33% Europe-wide, up eight points within one year. The share of citizens who have a neutral image of the European Parliament is 42%, whereas the share who have a negative image is down seven points, to 21%.
Over half the respondents (55%) stated being interested in the 2019 European elections - with the figure rising to 65% for Malta - and 47% thought the European Parliament should play a bigger role in the future. This figure goes up to 56% amongst the Maltese public.
Protecting against threats
The previous survey held in March 2017 already showed that citizens are more and more aware that the EU is acting on their behalf in areas they see as priorities. Building on this growing acknowledgement of the EU’s action, interest in the EU remains high and at 57%, showing a steady increase over time.
European citizens also clearly expect the EU to help protect them against certain threats. When asked against which threats the EU should protect them, citizens cited terrorism (58%), unemployment (43%), poverty and exclusion (42%), and uncontrolled migration (35%). For the Maltese respondents terrorism (63%) and uncontrolled migration (56%) pose the greatest threat.
Fewer than a quarter cited climate change (23%), religious radicalism (23%), organised crime (22%), armed conflict (21%), political extremism (20%), the spread of infectious diseases (10%), cyber-attacks, social dumping and threats to data privacy (9% each).
Citizens expect the EU to safeguard fundamental rights (44%), freedom to travel, work and study across the EU (36%), labour rights (34%), adequate pensions (34%) and economic well-being (33%). They expect the European Parliament in particular to defend human rights (56%), free speech (34%) and equality between men and women (32%).
For Maltese respondents, the chief concern is the environment (53%).
Citizens expect the European Parliament to support action against poverty and exclusion (41%), terrorism (also 41%) and youth unemployment (31%). A common European response to the issue of migration should also be a top priority according to 35% of Maltese respondents.
The 2017 Parlemeter survey is based on face-to-face interviews with 27,881 Europeans, aged 15 or more, in all EU 28 member states, between 23 September and 2 October 2017.