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

With one year to go until the 2014 European elections, this European Parliament-commissioned Eurobarometer survey looks at how Europeans feel about the economic and social situation and the budgetary and banking reforms under way in the Union.

This is the second part of the EP 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 fieldwork was carried out between 7 and 23 June 2013.

The survey was conducted using face-to-face methods by TNS Opinion in the 28 EU Member States, with 27 624 respondents. The results are shown either for the EU-28 (in the case of new questions) or in the form of EU-27 trends.

Main findings

  • A large majority of Europeans still believe that coordination between the Member States offers a better means of addressing the crisis than action taken by individual Member States, although the number of respondents in favour of the latter option has increased.
  • One in five Europeans see the European Union as being best placed to take effective action to address the repercussions of the economic and financial crisis. An almost identical proportion believe that national governments are best placed to do so.
  • Three-quarters of Europeans believe that jobs and combating unemployment should be given top priority.
  • Despite the economic and social crisis, the number of people who feel that the euro has mitigated the negative effects of the crisis has increased. However, they remain a minority.
  • Two in five Europeans believe that an EU budget of around 1% (some €145 billion) of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the Member States is ‘about right’, one in five that it is ‘too small’ and one in ten that it is ‘too high’. When asked about spending priorities for the EU budget, the respondents ranked social affairs and employment first, followed by economic growth and education and training.
  • Against the backdrop of discussions on a banking union, a majority of respondents were in favour of action in this area being taken at EU level, rather than national level.
  • Looking forward to 2025, close to half the respondents consider the EU to be in the best position to enable them to benefit from the positive effects of globalisation. And on the issue of who can protect Europeans most effectively against the negative effects of globalisation, there is a dead heat between the EU and national governments.
  • The respondents cited the following as the three initiatives that could most improve the performance of the European economy: improving education and professional training; reducing public deficits and debt; and making it easier to set up a business.
  • Close to three-quarters of Europeans think that China will be the world’s largest economic power by 2025. The United States and the EU follow far behind.