Fabian Demicoli

Public image of the EU on the increase


Public
opinion about the EU has improved markedly, reveals a new Eurobarometer survey.
The poll was commissioned by parliament and published on Thursday. It
says a majority of respondents believe parliament is the institution that best
represents the EU and that voting in the European elections is the best way to
make their voice heard.

"The
findings are encouraging", said parliament's president Martin Schulz. The
current economic and financial crisis demonstrates that we need solutions at
supranational level.

"The
EU is a unique project worldwide with law-making powers that can offer such
solutions, where individual measures at individual state level would not
suffice", he said, adding, "Citizens recognise this."

The
poll says the image of the EU has improved in the eyes of a majority of
Europeans: 40 per cent have a favourable opinion of it, compared to 31 per cent
in November 2011.

An
absolute majority of people questioned said that membership of the EU is
"a good thing".

While
people are still divided on whether or not their voice counts in the EU, 57 per
cent of respondents said voting in the next parliament elections in 2014 is the
best way to make their voices heard, with a quarter of them already aware that
these elections will take place in two years time.

More
than one in two respondents (54 per cent) said they would be more inclined to
vote than they are today if each European political party were to put forward a
candidate for the post of president of the commission, who will be elected by
parliament after the 2014 European elections.

Job
creation and fighting unemployment scored as the top priority anti-crisis
measures for the EU, according to 72 per cent of those who took part in the
survey.

The
poll was conducted between 2 and 17 June, with 26,622 citizens interviewed in
the 27 EU countries.

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