The first comprehensive survey of public opinion in the 13 candidate countries, the Eurobarometer poll conducted on behalf of the European Commission, has shown broad support for EU membership. Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents would support their country’s membership of the EU at a referendum, according to the results published by the Commission on 10 December.
Support for enlargement is the strongest in Romania, where 80 per cent of the people want to join the EU. It is the weakest in Estonia and Latvia where only 33 per cent support enlargement. Support for enlargement is much lower in the EU Member States: only 44 per cent according to the last Eurobarometer survey (May 2001).
59 per cent of the people in the 13 candidates said that EU membership would be ‘a good thing’ for their country, and 52 per cent think positively of the EU. 62 per cent of the people in the candidate countries trust the EU, a percentage much higher than in the current EU (41 per cent).
The Enlargement Commissioner Günther Verheugencommented the results saying "this survey shows that so far the enlargement strategy is right". He added that the survey also reveals a desire for more information. "The Commission is committed to continue its efforts, along with the candidate countries themselves, to contribute to a better understanding of what enlargement can mean," stressed Mr Verheugen.