France emerges as the most negative on EU membership in a survey conducted in five member states revealing a general feeling of dissatisfaction among EU citizens.
According to a survey produced by the leading French market research company Sofres, citizens from five of the EU’s six largest member states are predominantly negative about the effects of belonging to the EU. Results revealed that a large number of people remain unconvinced that the benefits of EU membership outweigh the disadvantages. Overall, the economic implications appeared to be the greatest cause for concern.
From the countries surveyed, Spain emerged as the most positive about its association with Europe – 57% of Spanish interviewees claimed that the standard of living in their country had improved as a result of EU membership. Spain was also the only nation whose respondents felt safer thanks to Europe. France proved to be the most eurosceptic nation with 43% of French interviewees answering that their country had become ‘less prosperous’ due to involvement with the EU. Conversely, only 29% believed that France had benefitted from its European ties.
Although more British participants claimed that the standard of living had improved since joining the EU (33% yes, 24% no), 48% said that their national identity and culture were under threat from closer European links. A majority of interviewees from all five member states agreed that prices had increased because of European integration. However, only respondents from Spain believed that EU involvement had made their nation more powerful on a global scale.
- When asked to choose from a set of expressions that described Europe, 60% of respondents said “the euro”, 51% said “the freedom to travel”. “Prosperity” was only mentioned by 21% of those surveyed.
- Respondents whose professions were listed under “manual labour” proved to be least satisfied with the economic conditions of their nation since European integration – particularly in France (52%), Poland (49%) and Germany (47%).
- All the nations surveyed claimed to feel “more protected” because of Europe apart from Great Britain (36% no 24% yes).
- Women were generally more critical than men, while young people gave more positive answers than their senior counterparts.
- All the nations surveyed answered that unemployment is an issue that should be tackled at national level, apart from Polish respondents who felt that it was a challenge most effectively solved at European level.