06.11.2015 - The latest Eurobarometer survey shows that overall support for the euro has further risen in euro area Member States and that a clear majority of citizens support the idea of economic reforms.
Percentage who see euro as good for their own country reaches new high
61% of respondents across the euro area said that they thought the euro was good for their own country. This is the highest level of support since the introduction of the survey in 2002, up 4 percentage points since last year.
Support was highest in Luxembourg at 79%, followed by Ireland, which completed an EU-IMF economic adjustment programme in December 2013. 75% of Irish respondents said that the common currency was good for Ireland.
Appreciation has also risen in all other former or current economic adjustment programme countries led by Portugal, where 61% of respondents see the euro as good for their country (+ 11 percentage points) and Spain, where 64% share this view (+ 8pp). Support also rose in Cyprus to 50% (+ 8pp) and Greece to 65% (+6pp). Support also rose among respondents in Italy by 6 percentage points to 49%.
Support for the euro remained fairly stable (-1pp) at 54% in Latvia, the euro area’s second most recent Member. In Lithuania, which joined the euro in January this year, the survey showed that 55% of citizens see the euro was good for their country.
A strengthened majority of 71% of respondents across the euro area also sees the euro as good for the EU. While a majority of respondents in every country agrees, there are nevertheless important differences between the 19 countries.
Majority of euro area citizens continue to support economic reforms
Asked again about their views on economic reforms, 78% of respondents across the euro area said that they saw the need for significant reforms to improve the performance of the economy. Similarly, 77% agreed that governments needed to save more now so as to prepare public finances for population ageing. 71% of respondents also agreed that economic reforms would be more effective if they were implemented in a coordinated way at EU level and 70% said they favoured more coordination of economic policies.
However, support varies considerably depending on the specific sector, ranging from 93% in favour of labour market reforms, to 65% in favour of market reforms fostering competition and privatisation. Although 77% of euro area citizens see the need for savings in order to prepare public finances for an ageing population and 87% think that pension system reform is important, just 27% are in favour of raising the retirement age.
However, more respondents disagreed than agreed with the idea that successful reforms in other euro area countries have facilitated reforms in their own countries (47% vs. 42%).
Citizens confirm dislike for small-denomination coins
Around one third (29%) of citizens across the euro area think that there are too many euro coins with different values and those who held this view expressed support for removing one cent coins (89% in favour) and two cent coins (83%). However, when all respondents were specifically asked whether they would favour the abolishment of one and two cent coins across the euro area as a whole and a mandatory rounding (up or down) of prices to the nearest five cents, 59% of respondents said they would favour such a move, while 38% were against it.
Citizens replied to a set of questions focusing on issues ranging from perception and practical aspects of the euro to their assessment of the economic situation, policy and reforms in their country and in the euro area. In addition, citizens were asked about their views and expectations regarding household income and inflation.
Some 17 500 respondents across the 19 euro area countries were interviewed by phone on 12 – 14 October 2015.