European Commission - Press release
Ahead of the "EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit", survey shows that nine out of ten Europeans think the EU should support developing countries in energy access
Brussels, 13 April 2012 - A new survey today revealed that 95% of Europeans think that access to energy is an important precondition for overcoming poverty in developing countries. In fact, nine out of ten EU citizens want the EU to help people in developing countries to gain access to energy.
The Flash Eurobarometer survey comes shortly ahead of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels on the 16th April, which will bring together the EU, UN and developing countries with industry, civil society and the private sector. Participants will include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Commission President Barroso, Dr Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women.
"I'm happy to note that Europeans see energy as a vital requisite for overcoming poverty in developing countries. Energy is essential for delivering health, education, food, and all basic needs. Investing in access to clean energy in the poorest countries will help to achieve the double goal of sustainable and inclusive growth and mitigating climate change", EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs commented. He added: "During the upcoming EU Energy Summit, the EU will announce its ambition to move up a gear to "energise development". We will remain a leader in helping developing countries to achieve universal access to energy for all."
Key results of the Flash Eurobarometer
95% of Europeans think that having access to energy is important for overcoming poverty (61% think it is very important; 34% think it is fairly important). This is slightly lower than other areas that were also tested in this survey, such as water and sanitation (100%), food (98%) or peace and security (99%).
90% think that the EU should support developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy (48% totally agree and 42% tend to agree).
82% think that the percentage of EU development aid that is spent on improving energy access should be higher than its current level of 2% (42% totally agree and 40% tend to agree).
77% of respondents believe that the main future source of energy for developing countries should be renewable energies, such as wind, hydropower and solar. Few respondents think that oil, coal or gas (7%), nuclear (6%), or biomass (4%) should be prioritised.
A majority of respondents think that not having access to energy creates the biggest problems in people's lives when it comes to cooking and preserving food (58%) and having access to healthcare (52%). (A maximum of two answers was possible.)
83% think that the EU itself benefits from supporting developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy, through things such as increased trade or the creation of jobs (41% totally agree and 42% tend to agree).
The Flash Eurobarometer
The fieldwork for this Flash Eurobarometer 348 "Energy for all: EU support for developing countries" was conducted by telephone between 19 and 21 March 2012. 13,528 randomly selected citizens aged 15 and over were interviewed; approximately 500 individuals in each of the 27 EU Member States.
The EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit
On 16 April, 2012 the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the EU Council will host the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels. This event will bring together main actors committed to achieving the objectives of the UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which aims to provide universal access to energy for all by 2030.
The Summit will be opened by European Commission President Barroso and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will co-chair the event and give the closing speech.
Energy and development
Energy determines if a society can grow and develop. Worldwide around 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity and the opportunities it provides for working, learning or operating a business. Some 2.7 billion use wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook their meals and heat their homes, thereby exposing themselves and their families to smoke and fumes that damage their health and which directly contribute to the deaths of nearly 2 million people every year.
The European Union is the leading donor in supporting developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy services. The European Commission alone devoted €278.5 million to energy programmes in 2010.
For more information
Link to the results of the Flash Eurobarometer 348 on the public opinion website:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:
Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)
Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)