As the European Commission marks the 20th anniversary of its humanitarian aid and civil protection department ECHO in 2012, European citizens confirmed their continued solidarity with victims of natural and man-made disasters around the world. The results of the 2012 Eurobarometer public opinion surveys on EU citizens' attitudes towards humanitarian aid and civil protection showed an overwhelming and even increasing support of Europeans for EU actions to help those most in need.
Nine out of ten (88%) EU citizens consider it important for the EU to fund humanitarian aid, an increase of nine percentage points since the last survey in 2010. Nearly the same number (84%) support maintaining humanitarian aid funding in spite of the current economic crisis. In both cases the support is over two thirds in all member states.
The survey confirmed an increasing belief of Europeans that a joint EU action is more efficient than when the member states act individually. Seven out of ten (71%) believe so in the case of humanitarian aid, an increase of 13 percentage points since the last survey.
A coordinated approach in civil protection is also clearly supported; mostly because Europeans prevailingly agree (92%) that not all countries have sufficient national means to deal with major disasters on their own and because there is a widespread recognition (89%) that major disasters can have cross border effects.
There is also important support for the EU humanitarian aid voluntary corps, which is gradually shaping up and should be operational in 2014. A strong majority of respondents (88%) in principle support an initiative which would allow for humanitarian aid volunteers from the EU countries to be selected, trained and deployed to the field.
The Eurobarometer surveys were carried out between February and March 2012. 26.751 respondents in the 27 Member States of the European Union were interviewed face-to-face.