EU is 'irrelevant' according to half of Europeans surveyed

EU is 'irrelevant' according to half of Europeans surveyed
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale Davies
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Europeans want to vote on EU-wide policy decisions and more transparency.


Almost two out of three Europeans say they are not convinced life would be any worse without the EU, according to a survey by a Brussels-based think tank.

Friends of Europe surveyed 11,000 people across the bloc in September and found that 64% were not convinced their lives would be worse without the EU, and nearly half of respondents said they thought the EU was "irrelevant".

But generations are at loggerheads once again as the Under 35 age group contradicted the majority - 41% of that demographic said their life would be worse without the EU.

However, it is unclear what Europeans do actually want from the EU. The study found citizens do not want "less Europe", with 90% saying that the EU should be more than just a single market.

The think-tank also said more than one-third of Europeans want more transparency over how the EU spends its money. Citizens also want the bloc to prioritise core issues such as tackling climate change, jobs, and security, with 41% of participants saying they would welcome having a bigger say in EU-wide policy decisions.

“Without change and reform, the EU will remain irrelevant to a majority of its citizens,” Pascal Lamy, trustee of Friends of Europe and a former European trade commissioner said.

More than 30% of Nordics, the French, and Germans said they want to promote values and democracy across the EU. While more than 40% of citizens in Southern Europe and in the Visegrad group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), believe the bloc's main focus should be to improve economic growth.

The think-tank carried out the survey as part of its #EuropeMatters project.

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