Standard Eurobarometer 53 - Highlights
The standard Eurobarometer was established in 1973. Each survey consists of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews per country. Reports are published twice yearly. Reproduction is authorized, except for commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.
According to Eurobarometer No 53 published today, public opinion as regards European integration has remained largely unchanged over the last six months: those in Europe who support EU membership and believe that their country benefits from it still greatly outnumber those with opposing views. There is strong support for the single currency, although enlargement is still not regarded as a priority. When asked for the first time about a European constitution, most Europeans said they were in favour.
Eurobarometer No 53, which will published in full in September, involved a survey of more than 16 000 people in April and May of this year, and its main findings are:
49% (end of 1999: 51%) of those surveyed took a favourable view of their country's membership of the EU, with 14% opposed to membership and 28% regarding it as neither a good nor a bad thing. The Member States in which support for EU membership is strongest are Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The lowest levels of support were found in the United Kingdom, Austria and Sweden. There is a general downward trend in levels of support for the EU in most Member States, including Germany and Austria. On the other hand, 47% (end of 1999: 46%) consider that their country is benefiting from belonging to the EU.
The level of confidence in the Commission remains the same: 45% of Europeans trust the Commission, with 30% expressing mistrust in our institution. In 9 of the 15 member States, more than 50% of the people have confidence in the European Commission. At the other end of scale, the Commission enjoys the confidence of only 25% of the UK population. Since the last six-month survey period, the level of confidence in the Commission has increased in 10 Member States, decreased in 4 others, and remained unchanged in one Member State.
58% (end of 1999: 60%) of Europeans support the introduction of the single currency, the euro, whilst 33% (1% up on the preceding six months) are against it. The euro enjoys 81% support in Italy, 76% in Luxembourg and Belgium and 75% in Spain; this contrasts with only 22% in the United Kingdom and 38% in Sweden. Among the countries in the euro zone, the level of support is well above the average for all 15 Member States.
Europeans continue to support the idea of a joint foreign policy (64%) and joint security and defence policy (73%). The figures show no change on the previous six months. Enlargement is still not a priority for 60% of those surveyed (1% more than at the end of 1999). Only 27% of Europeans (end of 1999: 28%) regard the accession of new Member States as a priority. Those most in favour of enlargement are the Danes (57%) and the Greeks (53%).
For the first time, the Eurobarometer surveyed the level of support for a European constitution, which was defined as a "fundamental document combining the various treaties currently in place". Seven out of 10 of those surveyed were in favour, with levels of support ranging from 88% in the Netherlands to 47% in the United Kingdom.
The Eurobarometer was set up in 1973 and carries out surveys twice a year. By asking the same questions on each occasion, it enables useful comparisons to be made over time, and between the different Member States.
Detailed tables [65 kb]