According to a recent poll commissioned by the EP (conducted in the second half of June 2020), almost seven out of ten respondents (68%) want the EU to have a greater say in overcoming this crisis. More than half (56%) believe that the EU needs more funding for this and that it should focus on reducing the adverse effects of the pandemic on the health sector and economic recovery.
In Latvia, the support of the population for wider EU powers (62%) and more funding (41%) is lower than the EU average.
More than half (53%) of EU respondents are dissatisfied with the solidarity shown by EU Member States during the pandemic, although more people have now expressed a more positive view (+ 5 percentage points) than in April.
It should be noted that in Latvia the satisfaction of the population with the solidarity of the member states (56%) is one of the highest in the EU – only the residents of Ireland (64%) and Estonia (63%) are even more satisfied.
Commenting on the results of the poll, EP President David Sasoli said: “The results of the poll clearly show that EU citizens expect the EU to show more solidarity and do more to help the economy recover. People also agree that a larger EU budget is needed to reduce the unprecedented burden. The impact of the pandemic on our economy and society In the current budget negotiations, Parliament supports the people’s call for a more efficient and focused EU.
Three out of four Europeans (76%) have heard of measures proposed by the EU to combat the effects of the Covid ‑ 19 pandemic. 36% of respondents can name specific measures (which is 3 percentage points more than in the first survey of this kind in April; although it did not survey the population of Latvia and several other countries). Of all respondents who have heard of EU action against Covid ‑ 19, 49% are satisfied. The apparent increase of almost 7 percentage points (compared to 42% in April) indicates growing public support for the proposed measures, many of which have yet to be implemented.
In Latvia, more respondents have heard about the measures proposed by the EU than the EU average – 81%, moreover, 66% are satisfied with them. Only Ireland (74%), Estonia (73%) and Portugal (67%) appreciate the EU’s achievements.
Although just over half of respondents across the EU (53%) are dissatisfied with solidarity between Member States during a pandemic, on average 39% of EU citizens say they are satisfied. This means that satisfaction has increased by 5 percentage points since April this year. The most significant increases were in Portugal and Spain (both with an increase of 9 percentage points), as well as Germany, Greece, Romania and Slovakia (an increase of about 7 percentage points).
About two-thirds of respondents, or 68%, agree that the EU should have more power to deal with crises such as the coronavirus pandemic, and an absolute majority of respondents in 26 Member States agree. Respondents in Portugal and Luxembourg (both 87%), Cyprus (85%), Malta (84%), Estonia (81%), Ireland (79%), Italy and Greece (both 78%) have the highest support for extending the EU’s mandate. also in Romania (77%) and Spain (75%).
In Latvia, too, the majority of respondents support wider EU powers, although this indicator is lower than the EU average – 62% of respondents.
56% of Europeans believe that the EU needs more financial resources to deal with the consequences of a coronavirus pandemic. This statement is shared by an absolute majority of respondents in 15 Member States: Greece (79%), Cyprus (74%), Spain and Portugal (both 71%). In Latvia, on the other hand, significantly fewer respondents express support for a larger EU budget – 41%.
When asked in which policy areas this increased EU budget should be spent, Europeans are at the top of the list of priority areas for European public health. Public health spending is considered the most necessary by 55% of respondents, with respondents from 17 Member States being the first to mention this area. Respondents also identified economic recovery and new opportunities for business (45%), employment and social issues (37%) and the fight against climate change (36%) as priority issues. Respondents in Latvia most often mentioned economic recovery (50%), public health (49%) and employment (46%) as preferred priorities for the EU budget.
The importance of deciding on economic recovery measures as soon as possible is clearly demonstrated by the worrying personal financial situation of European citizens since the beginning of the pandemic. Almost unchanged since April, 57% of respondents say they have experienced financial difficulties. The most common reason given is the loss of a source of income (28%), which was mentioned as the main problem by respondents in 21 Member States, most of them in Hungary and Spain (both 43%). In Latvia, three problems are mentioned equally often (28%) – loss of income, unemployment or reduction of workload, as well as unplanned rapid spending of savings.
Respondents’ feelings during the crisis have also changed significantly: people from the 15 EU Member States have chosen hope to describe their current emotional mood (41% in total, 37% in Latvia). This characteristic does not lag far behind the most frequently mentioned feeling of insecurity mentioned by 45% of respondents (compared to 50% in April). Overall, negative sentiment in the EU is diminishing, with fears (17%, -5), dissatisfaction (23%, -4) and helplessness (21%, -8) diminishing, while confidence has risen by an average of 3 percentage points (to 24%). however, helplessness has also increased by 2 percentage points (to 16%).