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Europinion n°2 - July 1995

Results of %C3Continuous Tracking%C3 surveys of the European Union  (May to July 1994)

I. White Paper

The European Commission prepared proposals on Transeuropean Networks for transport and on the Information Society to be discussed by the Heads of State and Government at the European Council of Corfu (24-25 June 1994).

Before the Council, between 27 April and 9 May - Monthly Survey 5 - 21% of Europeans reported having read or heard something about %C3the White Paper of the European Commission of Brussels, concerning growth, competitiveness and employment in Europe%C3. Between 1 and 7 June - Monthly Survey 6 - it was 20%, but between 1 and 6 July - Monthly Survey 7 - that is one week after the Corfu Council, the White Paper was known by 24% of Europeans.

Between before and after the Council, the increase in awareness was +8 in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, +7 in Germany, +4 in Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Great Britain and less than that in the other countries.

If indeed the awareness of the White Paper rose after Corfu, the predicted expectations of it do not seem to have changed since June. In fact, 44% expect a positive effect from the White Paper, that is 1 point more compared to the month of June and 26% (-1) did not expect a positive effect .

This low variation at European level, however, must not hide the spectacular increases in the expectation of positive effects in Portugal (58%;+22) and in Spain (60%;+12), and to a lesser extent in Greece (46%;+8). The citizens of the three southern countries appear to have been more expectant to what was said at Corfu, especially about Transeuropean Networks.

II. Awareness of the Corfu European Council

The Corfu European Council was dominated by the question of the successor to Jacques Delors as the President of the Commission. This is why it was among the most aware of all Councils with regard to public opinion.

Between 1 and 6 July, 56% of Europeans remember having heard about the Corfu Council .

In both countries of origin of the main candidates for the Presidency of the Commission : Mr. Dehaene and Mr. Lubbers, the awareness of the Council is very high: 80% in the Netherlands and 73% in Belgium. In the host country, Greece, 70% of citizens heard of the occasion of the Council.

III. Effects of the Corfu Council on the Union and the Member States

If one takes into account the averages among those who heard about the Corfu Council at European level, there are as many citizens who think that the Corfu Council will have positive effects on the future of the European Union (35%) as those who think that this Council will have positive effects on the future of their own country (36%).

Equally, there are the same number (16%) who think that the Council will have negative effects on the future of the Union and on the future of their own country and the same number (26%) who think that it will have no effect on the EU or their own country.

However, the national differences in these answers are important. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the countries of origin of the two main candidates for the succession to Jacques Delors, not only is the awareness of the Council greater, but the predicted effects of it on the future of the European Union are also more negative (24%).

In Great Britain, 30% of the British (European average 16%) think that the Corfu Council will have negative effects on the future of their country. 25% of the Dutch think the same.

For 39% of the Danes, 38% of the Belgians and 36% of the Dutch and the French, the Corfu Council will not have any effect on the future of their own country.

The highest number to predict positive effects of the Council on the future of their country is 44% (the Germans).

IV. Measures to be taken in the conflict in former Yugoslavia

In the framework of the Commission's Monthly Survey, Europeans have been interviewed three times on the possible measures to be taken in the conflict between Serbs, Muslims and Croats in Bosnia, by the European Union, the United Nations and NATO. Their opinions have hardly changed between February, March and June 1994.

Between 1 and 7 June - Monthly Survey 6 :

78% of Europeans are against %C3letting things as they go now%C3 and71% are in favour of %C3fight when necessary to get humanitarian convoys through%C3. 87% in the Netherlands and 85% in France are in favour of this.

V. Satisfaction with the way democracy works in the European Union

After May's survey - Monthly Survey 5 - the question on satisfaction with the way democracy works in the European Union was asked again in the month of July - Monthly Survey 7 - 45% of Europeans felt %C3very satisfied%C3 or %C3rather satisfied%C3 with the way democracy works in the Union and 46% felt %C3rather dissatisfied%C3 or %C3not at all satisfied%C3 .

Between May and July, a fall of four points has come about the %C3democratic%C3 label given to Community institutions. Once again, the discussion on finding a successor to Jacques Delors and particularly the British veto in Corfu gave Europeans a very bad impression.

In two months, French satisfaction with the way democracy works in the EU has fallen 13 points (43%), that of the Dutch by 8 points (50%), and that of the Belgians and the Greeks by 7 points (51% and 45% respectively). Once again, regarding this aspect of the Union, it is the citizens of the Member States which have been most affected by the Corfu Council who react negatively.

Spain is the only country where this perception has improved (33%;+5), but it is also the country where the level of satisfaction remains the lowest of all. In any case, the Spanish remain the most dissatisfied on this subject : 56%.

VI. Support for the European Community

Between May and July, the support for the European Community by those who think that the membership of their country is a %C3good thing%C3 has remained practically unchanged. It was at 59% in May, at 60% in June and at 58% in July .

The fall of 2 points between June and July is reflected in almost all countries. In fact, it is not negative opinions which comprise this fall, but rather answers of the type %C3the membership of my country in the EU is neither a good thing nor a bad thing%C3 (+3 at European level, +15 in Belgium and +13 in Portugal).

In July, one in two Europeans (51%) thought that their country had benefitted from being a member of the Union and 38% thought that their country had not benefitted from this membership .

Last update: 01/02/2012 | Top