EU losing support, poll shows

The latest Eurobarometer, published on 18 December 2006, shows a slight fall in support for the EU. Paradoxically, in France and the Netherlands, support for the rejected draft European Constitution has risen dramatically.

While the results of Eurobarometer 66 partly indicated a fall in support for EU membership, the Netherlands and France (two countries in which the Constitution was roundly rejected in 2005) are now more supportive of the Treaty (with 59% and 56% respectively now in favour, acording to the poll).

However, there are still doubts, as a major survey recently undertaken in the Netherlands showed that more than 68% of the Dutch would still vote against the draft Constitution and last month’s parliamentary elections were won by parties of a strong Eurosceptic persuasion.

When asked by EURACTIV, the Commission was not able to explain the sudden opinion reversal in both member states.

Other interesting results from the Eurobarometer:

  • Support for EU membership went down dramatically in the UK (-8%) and in Hungary (-10%);
  • Lithuania, Slovenia and Poland are the three countries in which most citizens think the EU is going in the right direction; in France, UK and Germany only 22%, 24% and 28% respectively beleive that ‘all is well’ with the EU, and;
  • enlargement support dropped considerably in the UK (-8%) and Spain (-4%).

The Eurobarometer also sought citizens’ opinions on societal issues, which produced some surprising results:

  • 85% of citizens believe that there is too much tolerance for criminals;
  • a majority of EU citizens reject homosexual marriages and child adoption by homosexual couples;
  • only four in ten EU citizens feel that migrants contribute significantly to their country;
  • citizens in 17 of the 25 member states believe that leisure time is more important than work.

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