Majority of Europeans think lockdown benefits outweigh economic damage

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By Luke Hurst
Parisians enjoy a stroll along the Seine river bank in March
Parisians enjoy a stroll along the Seine river bank in March   -  Copyright  Michel Euler/AP

A majority of Europeans believe the health benefits from restrictions imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic outweigh the economic damage they have caused.

The latest Eurobarometer survey, more than a year into the health crisis that has damaged economies across the bloc, showed 58% of respondents felt this way, as opposed to 41% who felt the opposite.

Countries across the EU have seen anti-lockdown protests breaking out as governments imposed measures to stem the spread of the disease and protect their health systems.

Previous surveys had shown a declining level of belief that the health benefit of lockdown outweigh the economic damage the restrictions have caused. But this latest one appears to show a change in opinion. 

Economic impact felt

But many Europeans have felt the economic impact already, according to the survey. 31% say they have already seen their personal income affected, while 26% expect to see an impact in the future.

The majority of respondents in eight countries said the crisis had already impacted their personal income levels. These were Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Poland.

The Eurobarometer was focused on the pandemic and actions taken by governments and the union to tackle it.

In its report, it claims the pandemic has “actually reinforced citizens’ support for the EU... with the EU enjoying its highest approval levels in over a decade.”

These are reflected with 48% having a positive image of the EU, while 35% have a neutral view, with 17% having a negative one.

Overall satisfaction in the EU’s response to COVID-19 is down by one percentage point on the previous Eurobarometer released in May, at 50% unsatisfied.

But 48% said they were satisfied, as opposed to 43% in the previous poll.