The new Eurobarometer opinion poll, published by the Commission on 14 December, shows that support for enlargement has increased in the 15 EU Member States to 51 per cent from 43 per cent in the previous poll.
According to Eurobarometer 56, 51 per cent of European citizens support the arrival of new Member States while 30 per cent oppose it. France is now the only country where those opposed to enlargement outnumber those in favour. Support for enlargement is the highest in Greece (74 per cent), Sweden and Denmark (both 69 per cent), and lowest in France (39 per cent), Britain (41 per cent) and Austria (46 per cent).
The first Eurobarometer conducted in the 13 candidate countries, published on 10 December, showed that 65 per cent of respondents would support their country’s membership of the EU at a referendum. Support for enlargement is the strongest in Romania, where 80 per cent of the people want to join the EU, and the weakest in Estonia and Latvia where only 33 per cent support enlargement.
Other findings of Eurobarometer 56:
- EU membership is a good thing: 54 per cent (+6);
- Benefits from EU membership: 52 per cent (+7);
- Support for the euro: 61 per cent (+2);
- Trust in the European Commission: 50 per cent (+5);
- Support for a common foreign policy: 66 per cetn (+1);
- Support for a common security and defence policy: 73 per cent (unchanged);
- Support for an EU constitution: 67 per cent (+5);
- Fears about terrorism and other threats: 86 per cent (+12).
Eurobarometer is the only public opinion survey carried out regularly in all 15 EU Member States. It has existed since 1973. Two major reports are published annually - a Spring survey and an Autumn survey. The full report covers over a hundred questions.