A majority of EU citizens would be more inclined to vote in the May 2014 European elections if political families named their candidates for the next Commission President, says a new "Eurobarometer" survey, published on 6 September. For the first time, the next Commission President will be elected by the newly-elected Parliament, taking into account the results of the European elections. The survey also shows that a growing number of EU citizens subscribe to an EU as well as a national identity.
The survey was conducted in June, with views collected from over 27,000 respondents across 28 EU member states.
For the first time, the European Parliament will elect the European Commission President. 55% said they would be more inclined to vote in the parliamentary elections on 22-25 May if political families put forward a candidate for the post. 70% said they would be in favour of directly electing the President of the European Commission in future.
The fight against unemployment, social inequalities and public debt were the challenges most cited by respondents for the years to come.
More Europeans described their identity as both national and European (49% of respondents, a six-point increase since June 2012). And 72% said that what brings them together is stronger than what divides them. The key elements of "European identity" cited are the euro (42%, though with a clear difference between eurozone countries and other EU members) and freedom (40%), followed at some distance by history (27%) and culture (26%).
As in past surveys, 50% said being in the EU is a good thing, compared to 17% who view their country's membership negatively. An absolute majority of EU citizens see free movement (56%) and peace (53%) between the Member States as benefits, followed by the euro in third place (24%).
The full Eurobarometer survey can be consulted via the link on the right of this page.