Public opinion about the EU has improved markedly, reveals a new Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Thursday. A majority of respondents said the European Parliament is the institution that best represents the Union and that voting in the European elections is the best way to make their voice heard.
"The findings are encouraging", said EP President Martin Schulz, commenting on the Eurobarometer survey. "The current economic and financial crisis demonstrates that we need solutions at supranational level. The EU is a unique project worldwide with law-making powers that can offer such solutions, where individual measures at individual state level would not suffice", he said, adding: "Citizens recognise this".
The image of the EU has improved in the eyes of a majority of Europeans: 40% have a favourable opinion of it, compared to 31% in November 2011.An absolute majority of people questioned said that membership of the EU is "a good thing" (50%, +3 points).
While people are still divided on whether or not their voice counts in the EU (54% of negative answers, down 7 points from last year, compared to 42% of positive responses, up 9 points), 57% of respondents said voting in the next European Parliament elections is the best way to make their voices heard, with a quarter of them already aware that these elections will take place in two years time.
Candidates for the post of Commission President
Interestingly, more than one in two respondents (54%) said they would be more inclined to vote than they are today if each European political party were to put forward a candidate for the post of President of the European Commission, who will be elected by the European Parliament after the 2014 European elections.
Unsurprisingly, job creation and fighting unemployment scored as the top priority anti-crisis measures for the EU, according to 72% of those who took part in the survey.
These are some of the findings of a Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament and conducted between 2 and 17 June 2012, with 26,622 citizens interviewed in the 27 EU countries. Go to the link on the right for the full survey.