Half of EU citizens support enlargement, but they also fear the cost of it, according to a new Eurobarometer poll released by the Commission on 21 October.
These are some of the main findings of the Eurobarometer poll conducted in the 15 EU Member States between 29 March and 1 May 2002:
- 50 per cent of all respondents in the EU supported enlargement. 53 per cent thought that enlargement would guarantee peace and security in Europe. 63 per cent said that enlargement would increase the importance of the EU in the world.
- Only 21 per cent of all respondents felt well informed about enlargement. 51 per cent of respondents were worried about the costs of enlargement, while 49 per cent thought that their country would lose out on financial aid from the EU as a result.
- 65 per cent of respondents agreed that, following enlargement, it would be more difficult to make decisions in the EU. The most favoured option (41 per cent of respondents) was for decisions to be taken by a majority of Member States, although 50 per cent of respondents said that each Member State should retain its national right of veto in order to safeguard national interests.
- Over 60 per cent of respondents indicated support for a Constitution for the EU.
- 52 per cent of respondents inside the Eurozone qualified the euro as a success. Outside the Eurozone, the euro was least popular in the UK, where 47 per cent thought that it was a bad thing. 47 per cent of the Danes and 42 per cent of the Swedes welcomed the idea of adopting the euro instead of their national currency.
- More than two in three respondents thought that foreign policy, terrorism, organised crime and human trafficking should be tackled by joint EU decision-making rather than by national decision-making. Respondents were more evenly divided on the responsibility for issues such as defence, asylum and immigration policy.
- Domestic issues such as unemployment, food safety, drug trafficking, poverty and social exclusion continued to concern the public. More than four out of five of those questioned named these as the chief priorities for action by the EU.