New Member States’ citizens less positive about EU

A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that fewer people in the new Member States have a positive image of the EU than those in the EU-15.

The latest Eurobarometer survey has revealed
that 42 per cent of the people polled have a positive image of the
EU (44 per cent in the EU-15 and 40 per cent in the new Member
States (NMS)). Thirty-two per cent of both groups had a neutral
image whereas 21 per cent had a negative view (21 per cent in EU-15
and 22 per cent in the new Member States.

Citizens from the old and new EU Member States expressed a
similar level of trust in the European Union (EU-15: 42 per cent,
NMS: 40 per cent), below the levels of confidence in the United
Nations (EU-15: 49 per cent, NMS: 50 per cent). However, the
citizens polled had more trust in the EU than in their national
parliaments (EU-15: 35 per cent, NMS: 16 per cent) and governments
(EU-15: 30 per cent, NMS: 17 per cent). It is interesting to note
that respondents from the new Member States trust their country’s
legal system significantly less (NMS: 27 per cent, EU-15: 48 per
cent).

Knowledge of the EU was found to be higher in the new Member
States in some cases. Respondents from the EU-10 were more familiar
with the characteristics of the European flag, the European anthem,
the headquarters of the EU and the number of EU Member States.

The survey revealed that citizens across the EU-25 use the same
sources of information about the EU. The preferred information
sources are in order of usage television, daily papers, radio,
discussions with relatives, friends and colleagues, other
newspapers and magazines and the internet. Interestingly, the
Internet was more preferred as a source of information in the new
Member States (18 per cent, compared with 16 per cent in
EU-15).

The EU-15 and new Member States agreed on the top five issues
facing their country. These were: unemployment, economic situation,
crime, rising prices and health care system. However, data gathered
in the survey showed that people in the new Member States are more
concerned about unemployment, and the economic situation. People in
the old Member States consider immigration and terrorism more
important than respondents from the new Member States. Citizens
from the EU-10 generally viewed the EU’s role more positively in
dealing with issues important to their country.

 

Background

The Commission has published the full report of
the latest Eurobarometer Survey, interviews for which were
conducted in February and March 2004. The Eurobarometer poll has
been conducted for 30 years but this year's report is the first one
to include data from all 25 Member States and their population of
455 million in a single document.

At the request of DG Press and Communication,
the survey was carried out by Magyar Gallup Intézet (candidate
countries' Eurobarometer) and the European Opinion Research
Group.

 

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