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One year to go to the 2014 European elections - Economic and social part

As the 2014 European Parliament elections draw near, so do crucial decisions on 2014-2020 financial matters. The Eurobarometer survey provides insight into Europeans' perceptions on the current economic and social situation as well as upcoming reforms.

Are we better off economically when we act together? Should member states work in conjunction with others or are they better off on their own? One in two Europeans reckons they would be better protected against the current economic crisis if their country worked together with another Member State on appropriate measures. This is in stark contrast to two-thirds of Brits who feel the UK should act on its own. At the same time the survey shows respondents in eurozone countries in particular are more positive about coordinated action.

For a majority of respondents from outside the eurozone the future of the single currency looks bright. 7 of 11 non-eurozone countries are positive about their country introducing the euro by 2025. The most enthusiastic is Latvia with 90% for joining the euro whereas the UK is the most sceptical of all member states with just under a quarter in favour of the common currency.

The EU budget equals to about €145 bln (£124 bln). Do we agree on how to spend EU money? The survey shows half of Europeans feel employment and social affairs are the top priority. In the UK the focus is on public health (41%) and education (40%).

When it comes to improving the performance of the economy, Europeans tend to largely agree. Over half of respondents think improving educational and professional training is the key. Other crucial changes include reducing public deficits and debt and making it easier to set up new businesses.

Looking forward to 2025, who will be able to protect Europeans most effectively against the negative effects of globalisation? On average, around one in every two Europeans believes the EU will both enable them to experience the positive effects of globalisation and protect them from its negative effects. In contrast, just one third of UK respondents feel the EU is able to best tackle globalisation issues whie in Germany over half of people consider both the EU and their government to be their 'globalisation safeguards'.

This is the second part of the Eurobarometer survey entitled ‘One year to go to the 2014 European elections’. The first part (on institutional issues) was published on 5 September 2013.

The Eurobarometer is a series of public opinion surveys conducted regularly on behalf of the European Communities since 1973 on a wide variety of topical issues relating to the European Union throughout the EU Member States.

This survey was conducted in June 2013 using face to face methods by TNS Opinion in the 28 EU Member States, with 27 624 respondents.