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European Commission - Press release

Eurobarometer survey shows overwhelming public support for EU role in emergency response

Brussels, 3 May 2017

The European Commission has published today the results of the Eurobarometer survey of public attitudes to the European Union's role in emergency response.

88% of respondents felt it important that the EU fund humanitarian aid activities and 90% said it was important that the EU help to coordinate the response to disasters in the EU through its civil protection role. Most EU citizens (56%) do not think their own country has sufficient means to deal with all major disasters on their own.

"The 2017 results show a continuing and overwhelming level of public support for EU action on humanitarian aid and civil protection. The European Union is a global humanitarian leader. When a disaster hits, there are no borders and the public support the EU helping in emergency response both at home and abroad. I am determined that the Commission will continue to deliver on this vote of confidence by European citizens", said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

Key results

  • Humanitarian Aid: 88% of respondents felt it important that the EU fund humanitarian aid activities. Asked about the current pressure on Europe's public finances, 84% supported the continued funding of EU humanitarian aid (a similar result to 2015), and 66% felt the humanitarian aid was more efficient provided by the EU than by individual countries. An overwhelming majority (91%) also believe that EU should fund education for children and young people caught up in crises, and 86% support the sending of EU volunteers abroad.
  • Civil Protection: 90% of Europeans said it was important that the EU help to coordinate the response to disasters in the EU through its civil protection role and 80% feel that if the emergency were to occur in their country, they would expect another EU country to help. 86% also believe that the EU should help any country in the world hit by disasters by sending experts and equipment. A large majority (87%) also believes that there should be an EU civil protection policy, as crises can have an impact across borders, and 81% think that a coordinated EU action in dealing with disasters is more effective than actions by individual countries – a stable result since 2015.
  • Prevention and preparedness for disasters: almost half of Europeans (49%) do not think that enough is being done at a regional level or within their own countries to prevent or prepare for emergencies.
  • Public awareness: EU citizens also show a high level (71%) of awareness of EU humanitarian aid activities and significant awareness (55%) about EU's coordination role in response to disasters in the EU.



The EU as a whole — the European Commission together with the Member States — is the world's largest humanitarian aid donor. The European Commission provides life-saving assistance around the world. This assistance is carried out in partnership with UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations such as the Red Cross.

In addition, the EU helps to coordinate the response to disasters. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response, preparedness, and prevention among 34 European states (EU-28 plus Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey). With the support of the Commission, the participating states pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance.

The special Eurobarometer surveys on humanitarian aid and civil protection (reports 453 and 454) were carried out in the 28 EU Member States between the 26 November and 5 December 2016. Some 27 929 respondents were interviewed face-to-face.


For more information:

Report/Summary/Country Factsheets for 2017 Eurobarometer on humanitarian aid

ECHO Factsheet – humanitarian aid

Report/Summary/Country Factsheets for 2017 Eurobarometer on civil protection

ECHO Factsheet – civil protection


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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