Eurobarometer: support for EU grows

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EU citizens got more supportive of the Union in spring 2006, but opposition against further enlargement continues to grow. Finland, the current EU Presidency, remains one of the most sceptical countries.

Spring seems to have brought new hope for Europe. That is, at least, the impression one can get from reading the latest general opinion poll on EU citizens view of the EU, held between March and May 2006.

In general, citizens’ trust in the EU has gone up and support even increased with 5 percentage points (from 50% to 55%) compared to the figures of autumn 2005. In Turkey, however, the image of the EU saw a dramatic negative development: the percentage of people having a good image of the Union fell from 60 to 43%. Finland, the country of the current EU Presidency, has one of the lowest levels of support (39%) with only Latvia and Austria doing worse.

Trust levels in the European Council improved substantially (+3%), but the European Parliament still remains the most trusted institution.

Support for a European Constitution remains widespread but  is slightly decreasing. 47% of the citizens want the Constitution to be renegotiated.

The gap between political and business elites and public opinion on further enlargement of the EU continues to grow. Whereas the elites keep talking of the successes and advantages of the EU’s expansion, public opposition to it continues to grow: 45% of EU citizens are in favour (-4%) and 42% are opposed (+3%). The question arises if this can be remedied by “explaining better the benefits of enlargement” as Vice-President Wallström suggested in her reaction to the Eurobarometer.

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