Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Cost of Living Weighs on EU Voters Year Before Polls

Voice of America
07 Jun 2023, 04:07 GMT+10

Brussels - Cost of living woes are focusing European voters' minds one year before they go to the polls to choose a new EU parliament, a new official survey Tuesday showed.

Half the 26,000 respondents questioned across all 27 EU countries for the Eurobarometer survey 'see their own standard of living in decline and expect it to decrease even further,' according to the results.

Some 65% were unsatisfied with what their national governments were doing to tackle the crisis, and 57% were not happy with what the EU was doing.

'All that weighs indeed heavily on people,' acknowledged Philipp Schulmeister, campaign director in the European Parliament, as he presented the Eurobarometer findings.

'Citizens see very quickly how much they have left in their purse at the end of the month,' he said.

But he stressed there was 'optimism' in the data 'that the European Union will be able to deliver.'

'This is not the story of everything is well and good, this is a story of expectation and also of learned trust,' he said.

Other public opinion topics that could sway the European elections include attitudes towards EU support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, migration, and the shift to a greener future.

The elections will take place June 6-9, 2024.

European Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch Guillot said the survey didn't have any indication that European voters' trust in EU institutions had been rocked by a graft scandal at the parliament known as 'Qatargate.'

Also, 'I haven't seen any national or otherwise surveys that would have shown a significant and lasting impact of the situation on the image of the European Union or the European Parliament as such,' he said.

Several lawmakers and parliamentary aides were arrested in a Belgian probe into suspected bribery of MEPs to promote the interests of Qatar and Morocco. Both countries deny any wrongdoing.

On Ukraine, 76% of the respondents to the survey - which was conducted in March - said they were satisfied with the action the European Union has taken to support Ukraine.

Migration, green transition

On the issue of migration and asylum, only 43% of those surveyed approved of what the EU was doing, while on the green transition it was 47%.

The survey found strong support among Europeans for democracy, rule of law and foreign policy.

On the cost of living crisis, being felt globally on the back of rising inflation but especially acutely in Europe because of an initial energy crunch stemming from Russia's invasion, there was dissatisfaction across the bloc.

Generally, around half of respondents weren't happy, with only one in three thinking measures taken were satisfactory.

In France, 74% were not happy with the way their government has been handling the cost-of-living crisis, while in Germany 59% were dissatisfied.

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