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Eurobarometer: survey, European citizens call for climate action, security, employment and fight against poverty

(Brussels) 52% of Europeans are satisfied with with the way democracy works in the Union and 56% of how it works in their country. Ireland (77%), Denmark (77%) and Poland (73%) are the countries with the highest levels of satisfaction, while Spain and the United Kingdom (45% both), Italy (44%) and Greece (34%) are the countries where citizens are the least satisfied with the European democratic process. In 14 countries (including Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Poland), citizens feel that European democracy works better than democracy in their own country. This is according to the Eurobarometer survey (“Parlameter 2019”) on citizens’ priorities for the EU and the European Parliament which provides a snapshot of the situation. The extensive survey also looks into citizens’ perception of the European Parliament, with 33% of Europeans having a positive opinion (+1%), 19% having a negative opinion (-2%), and 46% taking a neutral stance (+3% compared to September 2018). The Irish are the most positive (52%), followed by the Danes (49%), the Portuguese (49%), and the Swedes (48%); while the most negative are citizens in the Czech Republic, France and Spain (20%, 24% and 25%). Citizens with a neutral stance on the European Parliament are mainly women, young people, students, and people with a low income. Today’s Eurobarometer shows that 58% of respondents “call for a more influential Parliament in the future” (+7% compared to spring 2019 and +14% compared to September 2015). This call is stronger among those who have a thorough knowledge of the EP legislative activities.

A key element in all this is the perception that “one’s voice counts”. The poll, however, shows that the number of “citizens who feel that their voice counts in the EU has returned to pre-election levels”: they are 49% today, same as in February-March 2019, down from 56% just after the elections in May. 77% of citizens would like to receive more information on at least one of the seven aspects of the new legislative term proposed and on the activities of the institutions. The issues that citizens would like Parliament to address include the fight against climate change (32%); the fight against poverty and social exclusion (31%); the fight against terrorism and organized crime (24%); youth unemployment and achieving full employment (24%); and higher education and economic growth.

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