Citizens' Views on Parliament and the EU 

European citizens are looking more and more favourably on the European Union. They increasingly feel that their voice counts in the EU and that their countries have benefitted from being a member in the European Union. The 2017 Parlemeter of the European Parliament takes a close look at citizens’ opinions on the EU membership as well as on their attitudes towards the European Parliament, its priorities, actions and mission.

In the framework of the renewed debate on the future of Europe, 47% of European citizens feel that their voice counts in the EU, the best result since the European elections 2009.

A clear majority of Europeans keeps supporting their country’s membership in the EU. 57% of respondents feel that the EU membership is a good thing for their country, almost as many as before the crisis. Most respondents in all Member States say that EU membership has benefitted their country. Finally, an increasing number of citizens find that things are going in the right direction in the EU (31%, +6 compared to March 2017).

The European Parliament also sees an uptick in public opinion. An increase of eight percentage points now sees 33% of all citizens having a positive image of the European Parliament, while 42% of respondents still have a neutral image.

Secondly, the Parlemeter 2017 identifies areas where Europeans expect a protection from the EU. Terrorism comes out, with 58% of citations, as the main threat Europeans want the EU to offer protection. The precarious economic situation suffered by many Europeans defines the following issues such as unemployment (43%) and poverty and exclusion (42%). Protection against uncontrolled migration, with 35% on average, still ranges high on citizens’ agenda.

Then, the survey assesses the main accomplishments citizens want the EU to protect for them: on one side, fundamental rights (44%) and the freedom to travel, work and study across the EU (36%); on the other side stand the economic achievements, namely labour rights (34%), adequate pensions (34%) and the economic well-being (33%). These results resonate adequately with the values that Europeans want to see defended in priority by the EP: the protection of human rights, freedom of speech, and equality between men and women.

Finally, the Parlemeter 2017 shows what concrete policies Europeans expect from the European Parliament. In line with the threats previously identified, Europeans mainly support actions that tackle poverty and exclusion, fight against terrorism and combat youth unemployment.

The fieldwork of this survey was carried out between 23 September and 2 October 2017. 27881Europeans aged 15 or more were interviewed face-to-face in all 28 Member States.