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European Commission - Press release

Spring 2015 Standard Eurobarometer : Citizens see immigration as top challenge for EU to tackle

Brussels, 31 July 2015

More Europeans say they have a positive image of the European Union and trust in the EU has gone up since last November. In addition, citizens see immigration as the major challenge facing the EU currently. These are some of the results of the latest Standard Eurobarometer survey published today. The survey was carried out between 16 and 27 May 2015 in 34 countries or territories.[1]


Immigration seen as the major challenge facing the EU

Asking citizens about their main concerns, immigration is now at the top of the most frequently cited topics at EU level. With 38% (+14 points) it is now way ahead of the economic situation (27%, -6 points), unemployment (24%, -5 points) and the Member States public finances (23%, -2 points). It is the number one most frequently cited concern in 20 Member States reaching peaks in Malta (65%) and Germany (55%). Concern for terrorism at EU level has also increased significantly since November 2014 (17%, +6 points) (see Annex 1).


Support for European Commission’s political priorities

As in the previous survey of November 2014, there is a strong endorsement by citizens of the priority topics set by the European Commission under President Juncker (see Annex 2).

  • On investment within the EU, 59% of Europeans agree public money should be used to stimulate private sector investment at EU level.
  • On energy, 72% of Europeans are in favour of a common energy policy among EU Member States.
  • Most Europeans regard the single market (the free movement of people, goods and services within the EU) as the most positive achievement of the EU (57%), almost at par with peace among the Member States (55%).
  • Regarding the issue of migration, 73% of Europeans say they are in favour of a common European policy on migration. Most Europeans (51%) are positive about migration of people from other EU Member States. However, 56% are negative about immigration of people from outside the EU.

Finally, citizens remain optimistic about the future of the EU. 58% (+2 points) of Europeans say they are optimistic while 36% (-1 point) say they are pessimistic.


The image of the EU keeps improving

The number of Europeans who say they have a positive image of the EU has risen from 39% last November to 41% in May 2015, while 38% have a neutral image and only 19% a negative image (down from 22% in November and 25% in June 2014; see Annex 3).

Moreover, the number of Europeans who say they trust the European Union has also gone up to 40% (up by 3 percentage points since November 2014 and 9 percentage points since the 2014 European Parliament elections). The average level of trust in national governments has also risen slightly to 31% (+2 points) (see Annex 4).

The number of citizens who say that their voice counts in the EU has reached 42% (+2 points), sustaining the 10-year peak observed after the European elections in 2014.


Expectations for the economy are improving and support for the euro remains stable

On the economy, the expectations of Europeans for the national economic situation remain rather stable, with more than one in four of them (26%, +4 points) being optimistic about the next twelve months while 48% expect the situation to remain the same. Pessimistic expectations decrease sharply and reach 21% (-7 points). The number of Europeans who think that the impact of the crisis on jobs has already reached its peak (48%, +4 points) is now clearly more important than those who think "the worst is still to come" (42%, -4 points).

The positive stance on the euro remains stable (57% in the EU overall, 69% in the euro area). Support for the single currency has increased in 14 Member States, most strikingly in Lithuania (73%, +10 points) which has joined the euro area on 1 January 2015 and in Greece, where 69% (+6 points) of Greeks say they are in favour of the Euro (see Annex 7).

 

Background

The Spring 2015 Standard Eurobarometer is the second EU-wide opinion poll conducted since the Juncker Commission took office on 1 November 2014.

It was conducted through face-to-face interviews between 16 and 27 May 2015. A total of 31,868 people were interviewed across the EU Member States and in the candidate countries.


Further information

The 'First results report' published today outlines Europeans’ attitudes towards the EU, its institutions and policies, as well as citizens' main concerns and perceptions of the economic situation.

The 'First results report' is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/COMMFrontOffice/PublicOpinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/STANDARD/surveyKy/2099


[1] The 28 European Union (EU) Member States, five candidate countries (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania) and the Turkish Cypriot Community in the part of the country that is not controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus.



ANNEX

1. Most important concerns facing the EU

2. Optimism about the future of the EU


3. Image of the EU

4. Trust in the EU


5."My voice counts in the EU"

6. The impact of the crisis on jobs

7. Support for the Euro


IP/15/5451

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