Rising extremism, spread of disinformation, and weakening of the rule of law has seen a significant increase in the support for the European Parliament and European Commission.
The latest issues of the EU’s Eurobarometer survey found almost a third of respondents (32%) chose democracy as top European value to defend, followed by freedom of speech and thought (27%) and the protection of human rights in the EU and worldwide (25%), according to the new Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament.
The barometer mirrors results from the latest Future of Europe survey, published by the European Parliament and Commission last month, where nine in ten Europeans agree that there is still work to be done to strengthen democracy in the EU.
European Parliament president Roberta Metsola, welcoming the results of the survey, said: “As the citizens rightly point out, defending democracy is the most important European value above anything else. We cannot take democracy for granted; extremism, authoritarianism and nationalism are today rising threats for our common European project.”
Eleven Member States put the defence of democracy first: Sweden, Germany, Finland, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Czechia and Hungary. Respondents in Czechia and Hungary also put the protection of human rights in shared first place.
Overall, European citizens see Public Health with 42% as continued top policy priority for the Parliament, followed closely by the fight against poverty and social exclusion (40%) and action against climate change (39%). On EU average, young people put the fight against climate change as their top priority for the Parliament.
There is growing interest from European citizens to learn more about the work of the EU, and how the spend their money. The survey found information about how EU funds are concretely spent would be most interesting for 43% of respondents. Citizens also want to learn more about the concrete consequences of European legislation in their country (30%), the concrete activities of their national MEPs (29%) as well as on what the EU is doing to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic (29%).
“Citizens want and deserve more information about the concrete impact of EU policies and decisions in their daily life. People should know where the money is spent”, said Metsola.
Citizens’ support for the EU and the EP in particular has largely increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. A large majority of EU citizens (58%) support a more important role for the European Parliament in the future, while the share of EU citizens with a positive image of the European Parliament has grown by 12 points since 2015 to 36%, including an uptick of 3 points since 2019. 45% of respondents have a neutral view on the European Parliament and only 17% have a negative image. This positive standing of the EP is also reflected in the last European Commission Standard Eurobarometer 95.1, showing that citizens trust the European Parliament most among all EU institutions.