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Europinion n°5 - July 1995

Results of %C3Continuous Tracking%C3 surveys of the European Union  (April to June 1995)

Awareness of the Intergovernmental Conference of 1996 has risen slightly over the past three months. Nonetheless, common knowledge about the IGC of 1996 remains relatively low amongst most European citizens. 

In April and June 1995, a majority of European citizens declared themselves in favour of a single currency. Nevertheless, there is strong opposition in some countries.

In April and June 1995, a majority of European citizens declared themselves in favour of a single currency. Nevertheless, there is strong opposition in some countries.

I. Awareness of the Intergovernmental Conference : stability.

Until March 1995, an average of only 17% of European citizens had already heard about %C3an Intergovernmental Conference to discuss a reform of the European Union's institutions%C3. However, this awareness rose to 21% by April and remained at that level until June (22%). [Table 1]

Common knowledge about the Intergovernmental Conference has been most widespread in Denmark, (40%), Finland (33%) and Austria (30%).
German (16%) and Spanish (15%) citizens are least aware of the fact that such a conference will be held.

II. The single currency : a positive increase in the number of those least in favour.

The majority of European citizens (51%) are in favour of the introduction of a single currency. [Table 2]

The population of nine Member States is relatively in favour of a single currency. This is the case in Italy (72%), Belgium (70%), Luxembourg (67%), France (65%), Ireland (63%), Spain (60%), the Netherlands (59%), Greece (55%) and Portugal (51%).

The remaining Member States' citizens are far less positive towards the introduction of a single currency : Germany (37%), Finland (35%), Great Britain (34%), Austria (33%), Sweden (32%), and Denmark (31%).

Nonetheless, positive trends can be distinguished even among these States, particularly in Germany and Austria (+9 and +8 between April and June).

There is still a majority of European citizens who think that the single currency will be used regularly in the year 2000 (53%). [Table 3]

In June 1995, German citizens surpassed the 50% mark for the first time : 52% - a 10-point rise - believe that the regular usage of a single currency will have become a reality in the year 2000.

The proportion of Irish citizens holding this view, in turn, dropped below the 50% mark : only 45% - a 10-point drop - are still convinced of the common usage of a single currency in the year 2000.

The decline is most notable in Portugal (38%, -10).

The French and the Belgians are the most convinced (respectively 76% and 68%). The Swedish remain the most sceptical (27%).

III. The implementation of the Schengen Agreement : a split European opinion.

In May, the overall European opinion is divided between 43% of European citizens who think that the removal of border controls between the signatory states is %C3a good thing%C3, and 42% who state that it is %C3a bad thing%C3. [Table 4]

In eight Member States, public opinion is in favour of the results of the Schengen Agreement's implementation (Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Italy). In seven others, public opinion is opposed to control-free frontiers (Luxembourg, Finland, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain).

The most markedly positive public attitudes towards the %C3Schengen area%C3 are found in Spain (66%: %C3a good idea%C3). The most markedly opposed public attitudes, in turn, are in Great Britain (68%: %C3a bad idea%C3). 

IV. Support for the Union : precarious in certain Member States.

A fairly large majority of European citizens (58%) state in June that their country's membership of the European Union is a good thing. Almost no overall variance has occurred since May. [Table 5]

Nonetheless, when taking into account the individual national opinions, it is clear that, between the first and the second term of 1995, support has been eroded in the three new Member States, particularly strongly in Sweden and less so in Austria and Finland. Sweden's positive evaluation of membership has decreased from 40% in January to 20% in June - the lowest figure in the whole of the Union. 48% of Swedish citizens state that membership of the Union is a %C3bad thing%C3 (June), whilst the average across the entire population of the Union is 13%.

As far as benefits obtained through membership are concerned, they have been perceived as positive by one in two European citizens (50%) since the end of 1994 [Table 6].

This opinion has been declining in Spain since January 1995 and reached its lowest level in April (only 24% recognised certain benefits accruing to their country from Union membership).

Concerning this issue, the three new Member States' citizens have also been strongly and increasingly disenchanted. Between January and June 1995, the Austrians' positive perception of membership benefits fell from 49% to 32% (-17). That of the Finns declined by 26, from 62% in March to 36% in June, whilst 33% less Swedes were positive in June (20%) - the lowest European figure - than in January (53%). 

V. Democracy in the Union : the majority of European citizens are dissatisfied.

In June, less than half of all European citizens are satisfied with the functioning of democracy in the Union (48%). This figure has remained at a stable level since May. [Table 7]

The most significant variance can be observed in Austria (46%, +11) and in Great Britain (45%, -11).

Those who have the greatest confidence in democracy within the European Union are the citizens of Luxembourg (74%) and the Irish (62%).

The Spanish (34%) and the Swedes (21%) are the least satisfied.

VI. Europe Day (9 May) : a good idea.

A majority of citizens in ten Member States think that the celebration of Europe Day is a good idea (61% in the entire Union), a rise of 5 points between the %C3pre-9 May%C3 (survey carried out between the 1 and 7 May) and the %C3post-9 May%C3 period (survey carried out between 31 May and 6 June). The 50% mark has not been reached in the Netherlands (46%), in Sweden (42%), in Austria (41%) and in Denmark (32%). [Table 8]

VII. Democracy in the Member States.

In May, a ligth majority of Europeans (51%) says to be %C3very satisfied%C3 or %C3rather satisfied%C3 with the functionning of democracy in their own country. They were 57% in March.

The most remarkable drop has occurred in Sweden (48%, -14). In Germany, in contrast, satisfaction with the functioning of democracy has risen steadily (69%, +11).[Table 9

Last update: 01/02/2012 | Top