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Ambassador Michael Reiterer draws attention to recent EU-wide surveys revealing increasing trust in the EU by its citizens, which is contradicting trends to nationalism – a gift and responsibility to politicians to work with.
“Given the political changes under way in the EU after the elections to the European Parliament and the renewal of the EU’s executive, the European Commission, I am often asked in discussions whether Europe is not losing confidence and ground in international politics.
It might come to a surprise for many but I am happy to draw the public’s attention to the results of a recent and regular Eurobarometer survey which confirms what a survey by the US Pew Research Centre has shown earlier: the trust of European citizens in their EU institutions (44%) increased over the last five years and outperforms by 10% their trust in national institutions: Trust in Europe on the rise – encouraging when there is need to combat nationalism and protectionism!
Facing turmoil in international markets, power play and trade wars, enhancing competition and weaponisation of trade policy, the inherent difficulty of Brexit because of decade long integration; all these factors remind European citizens of the achievements of the EU over the last decades. Europe appears like a haven of stability in these times.
Post crisis Europe (2008, Greece; migration 2015) has consolidated on a higher level. Conducted after the elections to the European Parliament this survey also factors in the “Brexit-feelings” which contributed to the strengthening of the EU, not weakening. Optimism about the EU stands at 61%, with Ireland at the top with 85%. Noteworthy that Brexit UK figures nevertheless with 46%.
In international politics these trends translate into the EU’s support for multilateralism and the rule of law.
Top evaluations also for the often criticised Euro, the number two world currency: 76% of the citizens approve of it. The EU is also seen as bulwark to safeguard democracy. The Pew survey puts the support for peace at the median of 74%, and highlights wide support for the promotion of democratic values and prosperity.
Concern about climate change rose sharply to second place after migration – confirming the EU’s mandate to push ahead internally and on the international scene.”