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IP/05/104

Brussels, 28 January 2005

Eurobarometer on Constitution: a positive attitude, but a lack of information

More than half of the citizens of the European Union say they know little about the Draft Constitution and a third more declare they have never heard about it. At the same time the study also shows that the public opinion is rather favourable to the Constitution, but that the indecision level remains high in most countries. This is the result of a special Eurobarometer poll realised between the 27th of October and the 29th of November 2004 among a sample of nearly 25.000 persons.

On the results of this survey, Vice-President Margot Wallström, responsible for institutional relations and communication strategy, declared:

“This survey is very timely. The process of ratification of the Constitution will only succeed if governments and all other relevant actors mobilise to provide information to citizens, to ensure a truly informed debate. The data for countries which will hold referenda shows a high level of indecision. It may mean that there is a clear risk of a low turnout if campaigns are not able to connect with citizens.”

Margot Wallström underlined that the European Commission has offered its assistance to all Member States which wish to be supported in their communication activities.

The main points of this Eurobarometer are the following:

  • 11% of the Union citizens feel they globally know the content of the Constitution, 56% say they know little on the subject and 33% declare they have never heard it.
  • The level of knowledge on the content of the test, tested by a quiz, differs widely. If 63% of those surveyed know that the Constitution does not plan for removal of the national citizenship, there are only 48% who know that a Member State could leave the Union if they wish to do so. And 39% believe falsely that a direct European tax will be created.
  • According to this survey, made after the signature of the Constitution in Rome, 49% of those surveyed say they are in favour of the Constitution and 16% are opposed to it. Positive opinions prevail on negative ones in all countries with the exception of the United Kingdom. All in all, 35% of the population do not express an opinion. Indecision reaches a majority in some of the countries which have announced a referendum: it reaches 67% in Ireland, 53% in Portugal and 50% in the United Kingdom.
  • There is a clear correlation between the level of information and the level of support. Only 22% of the people who have never heard about the Constitution say they are nevertheless in favour of the draft, whereas 60% of those who have heard of the text but know little about it are favourable. The figure reaches 75% among those who feel that they globally know its content.

Technical notice: The special Eurobarometer n°214 was realised by TNS Opinion & Social / EOS Gallup Europe between the 27th of October and the 29th of November 2004. 24.786 citizens of the European Union aged 15 and more have been surveyed in the 25 Member States.

The first results of the survey are published today. The complete report will be available at the beginning of February.

All Eurobarometer polls are available on the website:

http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm

More information on the Constitution can be found under

www.futurum.eu.int


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