Majority of EU citizens in favour of Union membership, says survey

A new survey has revealed that many EU citizens support further economic and political integration.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

22 Oct 2015

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande addressed MEPs in Strasbourg earlier this month, they appealed for greater European unity.

Calling for "more Europe", Merkel said, "we must uphold our values, otherwise we commit self-betrayal. We have a lot more to do convince people of the value of Europe."

As it turns out, they may not have as much convincing to do as they originally thought. A study by Bertlesmann Stiftung, a private German non-profit foundation, has revealed that, "overall, 71 per cent of the survey's respondents say that if a referendum was to be held today, they would vote in favour of EU membership."


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The survey was carried out in July, as Europe was dealing with both the refugee crisis and tense bailout negotiations between Greece and EU policymakers. 

But the Greek problems don't seem to have deterred EU citizens, as, "of the respondents in the eurozone, 63 per cent say they would vote in favour of their country continuing to use the euro.” The survey also found that, “59 per cent of the EU's citizens feel that the Union's political and economic integration should be increased, a figure that rises to 64 per cent when the same question is posed to people living within the eurozone."

However, "72 per cent of the respondents say that European politics are moving 'in the wrong direction'." Additionally, "68 per cent of respondents throughout the EU say that policymaking in their own country is on the wrong path."

While a number of EU politicians have called for an end to Schengen, 46 per cent of respondents said that the achievement they appreciated the most about the Union was its open borders.

The recent EU crises have meant increased media coverage of European politics. Although this  has not always been universally positive, it does mean that more people are now familiar with names such as Angela Merkel - 83 per cent - David Cameron - 75 per cent - and François Hollande - 63 per cent.

Events have even raised the profiles of Brussels staples such as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, with 40 per cent of people in the EU now aware of who they are. 

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