Arab Today, arab today europeans still gloomy about economy ahead of eu vote
Last Updated : GMT 07:36:18
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Europeans still gloomy about economy, ahead of EU vote

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Europeans still gloomy about economy, ahead of EU vote

Washington - AFP

Support for the EU is slowly rising ahead of European Parliament elections, but most Europeans remain gloomy about the economy and complain their voices are not heard in Brussels, a poll found. Fears about immigration are also coloring public opinion in the run-up to polls later this month with most Europeans believing that newcomers are a burden on their already struggling economies, the Pew Research Center found. The survey was conducted across seven key European Union members -- Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain -- from March 17 to April 9 among 7,022 people. "Support for the European Union is rebounding just in time for the... elections," said the survey, released on Monday. It showed that some 52 percent of Britons were favorable towards the European Union, up from 43 percent last year, while in France support had risen from 41 percent in 2013 to 54 percent this year. But in France, Germany, Greece, Spain and Italy the EU still remained less popular than it had been in 2012. And "as the electorate heads to the polls beginning May 22, publics across Europe overwhelmingly think that their voice is not heard in Brussels," it said. "Majorities in most countries complain that the EU does not understand their needs and is intrusive and inefficient. And they express little enthusiasm for giving the EU greater power on economic issues." The euro crisis unleashed across the eurozone in 2008 "dealt a savage blow to the image" of the European Union, with favorability ratings plunging some 34 percentage points in Spain between 2007 and 2013. Ratings also fell 21 points in France and 20 points in Italy. "But views of the EU and the European project may have begun to recover in the past year," the Pew survey found. Even though support for the euro in general remains strong, the EU's institutions fare less well with an average of only 36 percent saying they had a positive view of the European Parliament. While some 52 percent of Poles hold the EU and its institutions in high regard, only 17 percent of Greeks take the same view. Indeed 80 percent of Greeks say their voices do not count in the EU, just below 81 percent of Italians who share the same opinion. Only in Germany are feelings about the economy very high, with 85 percent saying the current situation is very or somewhat good. In second place is Britain, where 43 percent share the same opinion -- a massive rise from the 15 percent in 2013. And the report notes a "dramatic turnaround in the British mood in just the past year." But economic woes are shaping attitudes towards immigrants and minorities with an average of 55 percent across all seven countries wanting fewer outsiders admitted to their shores.

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