Europeans aren’t sure the EU is working for them. A new poll of 10,000 Europeans carried out by Dalia Research on behalf of our sister think tank, Friends of Europe, shows that 64% aren’t convinced life would be worse without the EU. For 49%, the EU may as well be completely irrelevant (they either think life would “stay the same” without the EU, or they just don’t know what the impact would be). However, the polling data also shows that young people are the EU’s biggest supporters. Among under-35s, over 40% think their life would be worse without the EU.

Europeans don’t want ‘less Europe’. Fully 90% of EU citizens feel that the EU should be more than just a single market, and 81% don’t want the EU to prioritise leaving more decision-making to national governments (which suggests that the majority of Europeans are comfortable with the idea of pooling national sovereignty).

Europeans want the EU to focus on policies they care about. Keeping peace, creating jobs and tackling climate change are the core actions the EU should prioritise according to a plurality of Europeans.

Curious to know more about what Europeans think? We’ve put together some of the results in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

The results of the poll are being published as part of Friends of Europes’ annual flagship event, the high-level State of Europe roundtable in Brussels. Using data across a range of fields (including the views of citizens), our partner think tank has developed a series of scenarios, envisioning a European Union from a 2030-perspective. Some are gloomy and some are more positive, but all represent radically dissimilar futures and take into account internal and global trends and key drivers of change.

These scenarios will form the basis of the State of Europe brainstorm and be published in a report titled #EuropeMatters, helping to spark the debate on the future Europe that we want and how to reinvigorate the relationship between citizens and the European project.

Is the EU irrelevant to you? What do Europeans think? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc) Flickr – Banksy (photo by ijclark)

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

75 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Sérgio Borges

    EU is in my opinion fundamental to achieve progress and stability for all Europeans.

    • avatar

      Foutaises !.

  2. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Yes, politically irrelevant when stubbornly rigid! Europe’s culture & its survival is relevant!

    Commercially paid polls are irrelevant- genuine democratic referendums are relevant!

    “Dalia” research/Berlin ….concludes: 81% of EU citizen think “national sovereignty” is not an issue”……..? Really?

    “Dalia” also concluded that 64% respondents in one of their other surveys:

    are so fed up with their own national governments- (suffering diminished sovereignty already)- that a 81% majority would rather opt for no sovereignty= (suzerainty)= less democratic- less accountable- far from home, unfamiliar & strange EU politicians regulating everyone from cradle to grave from their Brussels hide out!?

    Is that believable, realistic, true, democratic, money worth or not?

    One could similarly conclude that “Friends of Europe” by employing & paying” Dalia” (“Jobs for Pals” or just pure professionalism?)- using mainly taxpayers money- suggests that the majority are comfortable with the idea of “pooling national sovereignty”= abolishing it! Creating the way to an EU Super State. Serves “their” narrative!

    Is that what “Euro Pulse” is pulsating and accurately determined in the veins of Europeans?

    Unpressured negotiated cooperation- without the many legal marriage vows (treaties)- by the able & willing plus retaining national sovereignty- using the functions of the existing “Council of Europe”- would be one option. Everyone signed up to the UN enshrined HR “values” anyways! CoE and EU values=UN values.

    Or, reverting back to the 1970’s when the “EEC” became too boring for some adventurous politicians. Why not make a fresh attempt- using the experience from the last 50 years?

    Surely, most people want job, social & cultural security, family security, a bullish but fair economic system, opportunities to earn well through education & training, safety & protection from crime, pc & uncharacteristically outside influences, easy access to their politicians & national parliament- all within a peaceful Europe.

    Unfortunately, the EU concept could not fulfill such criteria- the search is ongoing!

    All that “political imagery” (polls) is been created by enthusiastic up & coming international data scientists, creative geniuses, programmers, political analysts- to make a penny or two in the Euro land!

    The “conventional” democratic wisdom would lead us back to ask all voters directly (referendum) instead to pay some Friends of Friends with taxpayers’ money- what all taxpayers might or might not think- which all taxpayer actually knew already beforehand! Paradox?

    But that would be too simple, dangerous and too democratic!

  3. avatar
    catherine benning

    Is the EU irrelevant to you?

    No not irrelevant. How could such an attack be irrelevant to us? But definitely inconsequential. The EU is yesterday. It is the source of dramatic and horrendous calculated infamy which will take the European people many decades to correct and adjust. It will not be easy but if we are to survive at all it will be necessary to embrace our civilisation very tightly.

  4. avatar

    EU should analyze its basic principles and act in balance. The principles that were at the beginning of the EU have been abandoned. All states are equal. Some states need guidance and advice( especially the former eastern block). Otherwise, EU credibility is getting less and less credible. Instead of reproaches EU should find bridges in order to remain strong and united.

  5. avatar

    Most of what the EU does we take for granted, as I think the english soon will be painfully aware of. It’s mindboggling to think of the bureaucracy that would be needed if we hadn’t the EU.

    • avatar
      Chad Bytheway

      How on earth did our ancestors survive before the EU, the EU is not the be all and end all of countries being friendly with each other, they are just the middle man you pay for the introduction but now they want way more than a finders fee, they want your soul your identity and to not have to listen to you!

  6. avatar

    Went to the USA on holidays. Chose a restaurant based on menu prices. Bill was higher than expected. Waiter then told me: “prices on the menu don’t include tax”.
    Price transparency is the kind of thing we take for granted here… I wouldn’t like to lose that!

  7. avatar

    Evil. As far as I can see… No good for its own citizens!!!

  8. avatar

    German union you mean?

  9. avatar

    Thinking EU is irrelevant is a privilege of the ignorant.

  10. avatar

    Europe is needed…there is wher the general laws are decided…you dont see it…you can go from a country to another freely…if there is a case of injust law at your country the european court will roule fairly…there is a endless list of things that are in your life and you dont now they came from Europe

  11. avatar

    We will see next year in your MEP elections, not that they matter as your unelected European Politburo rules your lives..

    Here is the latest European Parliament MEP election video.

  12. avatar

    EU is the only way for a strong Europe

  13. avatar

    I dont think my country gets better from it no, and its not a democratic or transparent organisation. The idea of eu is great, but how its done now is just horrible and it makes real europeans not want to be part of it.

  14. avatar

    Gosto da enquete. Já estará no dicionário?
    I like the poll. Will it be in the dictionary?

  15. avatar

    I wonder how many europeans want to move to Russia, China or Turkey and how many noneuropeans want to move to the EU. I think the answer is obvious. No structure is without flaws, but if we compare it to other “models”, it stands out.

  16. avatar

    We don’t want a EU with open borders and ruled by the Leftists

  17. avatar

    Of course it is relevant. It gave a common vision to otherwise defocused nations, making them able to have a say against bigger forces of interest, making them share quality standards, giving them the opportunity to benefit solidarity funds in order to develop, have an superior authority watching over the civil rights compliance, granting all its citizens the right of free movement, trade or development through the entire union, etc. Why should it be irrelevant…?! (Nevertheless, let’s make an exercise: take a miner and give him an easy office work. After a few years send him in production to build wooden boxes for a while. I’m sure that he will complain and be demoralised by how unfair life is.)

  18. avatar

    Cred că este gresit sondajul! Doar hotii si parlamentarii ar fi de acord! O idiotenie mai mare nu poate exista!! Cui ii este frică de progres???
    Doar celor care au ramas ancorati in comunism si celor fără educatie!!!
    I think the poll is wrong! Only thieves and parliamentarians would agree! A bigger idiocy cannot exist!! Who is afraid of progress???
    Only those who have remained stuck in communism and the uneducated !!!

  19. avatar

    Plenamente de acordo
    Fully agreed

  20. avatar

    It was a great concept for sure, except for the execution of it is very wrong in many many ways.
    It has become a dictatorial agenda against the will of the people of Europe who want to to be able to have a better say in how they govern themselves.

  21. avatar

    Do we have yet one European imf?
    One single euro? One single European policy on budget and public finances?

  22. avatar

    No, it is relevant. It’s more than a bother, it’s a significant threat to the European civilization, and the freedoms and liberties of Eurooeans

  23. avatar

    It’s not irrelevant: it’s harmful.

  24. avatar

    You miss it when you don’t have it. No single european country can face the global challenges (read: Russia) on its own, it is a fact. But same like air, must be refreshed from time to time.

  25. avatar

    I dear not to think how bad the days was befoe the 4 freedoms with custums every were.

  26. avatar

    A case of “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”

  27. avatar

    Good intentions, but no follow through !

  28. avatar

    Yes. I only care about my country.

  29. avatar

    “Europeans want the EU to focus on policies they care about. Keeping peace, creating jobs and tackling climate change are the core actions the EU should prioritise according to a plurality of Europeans.”

  30. avatar

    I was born and lived before the eu. We were better off…

    As is, the strong prey on the weak. That is what the eu is good for…

  31. avatar

    Not only it’s NOT irrelevant, but I am all FOR the UNITED EUROPE!!! The freadom, the rights, the opportunities, the free movement make Europe unique and incomparable throughout the world!!!

  32. avatar

    I like the EU. I like being able to travel anywhere and buy anything from within the union whenever I feel like.

  33. avatar

    Ok, les citoyens veulent une “autre Europe”. Demandons-nous d’abord pourquoi l’Europe est comme elle est ? Ce n’est pas le fruit de hasards. C’est le fruit de 61 ans de longues négociations avec de fortes implications des lobbyismes qui ont élu domicile à Bruxelles. Peut-on changer l’Europe ? Oui, si les 28 pays aux intérêts divergents sont d’accord en même temps sur le même changement (article 48 du TUE qui exige l’unanimité). On constate qu’à chaque fois qu’un pays a fait valoir sa volonté de changer quelque chose qui va contre ses intérêts, il n’a pas eu gain de cause. Alors non, personne ne peut changer l’Europe. On la garde comme elle est ou …on la quitte, comme le Royaume Uni. Les britanniques l’ont bien compris. Chaque pays de l’Europe peut avoir des relations choisies avec chacun des pays de la planète sans être obligé d’être ligoté dans un traité qui donne son pouvoir exécutif et législatif à une autorité supranationale (L’UE est une institution). Si un peuple veut rétablir la démocratie, il doit reprendre sa liberté de décider de sa politique économique, financière, sociale et diplomatique. Le peuple européen ne peut pas exister, car les peuples sont tous différents, ont une histoire différente et des intérêts différents. Les empires se sont tous effondrés. L’empire européen s’effondrera. Mieux vaudrait que chaque pays reprenne sa liberté sereinement, avant d’être ruiné. Je souhaite le FREXIT pour mon pays, car je constate que la France va de plus en plus mal et qu’aucun espoir n’apparaît à l’horizon. Les français ont clairement dit NON en 2005 et je suis convaincue qu’ils avaient raison.

    Ok, the citizens want an “other Europe”. First, we have to ask ourselves why is Europe as it is? This is not the result of chance. It is the result of 61 years of long negotiations with strong involvement of the lobbyists who chose to live in Brussels. Can we change Europe? Yes, if the 28 countries with diverging interests agree at the same time on the same change (Article 48 of the TEU which requires unanimity). We note that whenever a country has stated its desire to change something that goes against its interests, it has not won. So no, no one can change Europe. We keep it as it is or … we leave it, like the United Kingdom. The British have understood that. Each country in Europe can have chosen relations with each of the countries of the planet without having to be tied up in a treaty that gives its executive and legislative power to a supranational authority (The EU is an institution). If a people want to restore democracy, they must take back their freedom to decide their economic, financial, social and diplomatic policies. A ‘European demos’ cannot exist because populations are all different, have different histories and different interests. All empires have collapsed. The European empire will collapse too. It would be better for each country to regain its freedom serenely before being ruined. I wish FREXIT for my country, because I see that France is getting worse and that no hope appears on the horizon. The French clearly said NO in 2005 and I am convinced that they were right.

  34. avatar

    UE will colapse. Congratulations to Bristish people. FREXIT soon. is coming.

  35. avatar

    L’UE est machiavélique et appauvri les peuples. Les Anglais ont tout compris.
    FREXIT vite !!! Et cela ne nous empêchera pas de voyager ni d’échanger avec nos voisins. Par contre la France aura retrouvé sa souveraineté plutôt qu’être le vassal des USA.

  36. avatar
    Alain Lambert

    The propaganda of the EU is over. We want our independance back !

  37. avatar
    Herv Nevil

    After many decades of EU propaganda, the result is completly opposite of the initial promises. Where is progress, prosperity, strong enonomy for people ? All is social chaos, and EU has been created only for companies profits. No more !

  38. avatar

    On first, there are not european citizens in that european union : some countries had a king or a queen, so…
    On second : “Il ne peut y avoir de choix démocratique contre les traités européens.” mots prononcés par Juncker et qui prouvent bien qu’il est impossible d’être des citoyens dans une dictature !
    En trois : “et plus on donne aux riches, plus on prend aux pauvres”, voilà le fonctionnement de l’Union Européenne : lobbyistes et ultra-riches, dont les “grandes entreprises qui ne paient impôt dans les pays où elles sont”, se partagent nos deniers !
    Ma langue est le français et est aussi la 5ème parlée dans le monde et cela compte aussi énormément.
    Vite sortons de cet enfer !

  39. avatar
    Lisa de Jong

    I honestly hate the EU. Not because I’m against an European Union or European unity per se. But more because they do everything worse than our national politicians would have done it.

    The way I see it there are three major problems.
    1. European politicians aren’t accountable to journalists. In fact, they don’t even talk to critical journalists. This is also why they are so detached from the people. While they should see critical journalists as an opportunity to reach a wider audience and justify their policies.
    2. Regionalism. European parliament members get voted in by people from their own country, which also means they solely defend their interests. And the European Commission is defending the interests of the European governments and lobbies. But there is no one looking out for all European people. A Romanian politician won’t care what happens in the Netherlands. Not as long as you can’t vote for truly European-wide politicians. I think the EU would be a lot better if we could vote for any politician in Europe, who would then try to address the problems of all Europeans.
    3. The EU doesn’t put it’s own citizens first. Instead it plays power politics at the expense of the people (such as trying to let countries in that don’t meet the Copenhage criteria). It’s trying to force uniform policies where they don’t fit (you can’t always mix Dutch liberal policies, with Polish conservative polish and Greek social policies). And treating non-EU citizens the same as EU citizens. The EU should recognize that it’s here for the people and put their interests above it’s own agenda. And it should also recognize when issues are better left up to politicians at a regional level.

  40. avatar
    Lisa de Jong

    Especially when it comes to the refugee crisis you can see how regionalism is destroying the EU. And how even national presidents believe the EU is irrelevant.

    Merkel overrides the Dublin treaty by saying it’s irrelevant and lets refugees from other countries in. Italy and Greece just send migrants north. The rest just tags along with whatever Merkel decides. While it SHOULD be the EU deciding what happens with the common borders.

    Now we are in the situation where the EU needs more power to fulfill it’s duties towards the citizens. But – understandably – a lot of people are very skeptical about giving the EU the powers it needs. Because currently the EU is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

    If an incompetent worker says he needs more power to become competent at his job, then it requires a leap of faith to give him the powers he needs.

  41. avatar

    Que pèse notre avis quand nos gouvernements ont signé des traités qui confisque nos pouvoirs exécutif, législatif et judiciaires ? Avant de pouvoir le faire, il faut nous libérer des chaînes qui nous ligotent. Frexit ! Après on vote et on décide.

  42. avatar
    Franz M

    The is relevant in everyday life. I informed myself during Brexit negotiations.
    -harmonized regulations (makes life easier if 28 countries do the same thing)
    – safety standards , worker rights, environmental standards
    – citizen rights
    – freedom of movemt.
    – the EU has 60 trade deals with other countries
    – research funding
    – diplomatic strength.
    (450 000 000 people
    15 000 000 000 000 Euro GDP)
    and on and on and on

  43. avatar
    Laurens Jan Brinkhorst

    The EU is very relevant for the overall structure of our societies. Rule of law, human rights and democracy could easily in this time and age be undermined, as we see already in a number of member states. The EU as a whole is a mechanism of sliding back into negative habits. Ofcourse day to day life as seen by many is not determined by the EU. Education of the bigger picture remains

  44. avatar
    Olga Cosmidou

    Europe is very important. We want more , not less Europe. But we want real integration. There should be a mechanism which allows to suspend illeberal governments which shouldn’t have a place in a democratic EU. This means that we should move towards a decision taking system by majority and not unanimity. Before achieving this, there shouldn’t be any further enlargement. Otherwise the EU will be destroyed from the inside. And there should be real solidarity among member states: EU is not a bank where you receive money but refuse any burden sharing. If there isn’t any solution on this Europeans will turn their back to EU. Solutions not communication exercises before the next elections for the EP.

  45. avatar

    The take home message is “90% of EU Citizens feel that the EU should be more than just a single market”.
    This does not mean more wars, more debt, more insecurity, more sanctions, more depressing refugee situations, more corporate lobby offices in Brussels – change does not mean more of the same stuff.
    The “single market” has so far done very well to serve corporate and political interests which have been doing a great job at creating insane public and personnel debt, refugee crisis, regional instability (Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq), sabre rattling with regional powers, confusing critical foreign policies (Kosovo is okay but Crimea is not) and so on.
    Of course consumers have also done very well to benefit from the single market. In the last 2 to 3 decades, we are now fatter, sicker and lazier, than ever before, due to endless aisles of consumer foods and products in our stores.
    With political approval, corporate industrialists make insane profits from the vehicles and fuel that pollute our cities, poison our foods with pesticide residuals, contaminate our oceans with metals and radiation, rubber stamp increasingly dodgy vaccines, lie publicly without consequences (is 350 million UK pounds still going to NHS weekly, after Brexit?), create superbugs by irresponsible use of antibiotics, weaken EU citizen health immunity by rubber stamping non nutritious processed foods, charge ridiculous VAT/taxes with accompanying bureaucracy (entrepreneurs spend more time doing paperwork than doing what they started out to do) … the list is long.
    When one loses faith in something, one stops to care (is poor vote attendance not an indication of this?)
    Maybe the “people in charge” being created by our education system needs some changing too – change cannot take hold if everyone is educated to think the same way.
    If there is no change, then yes, EU will become more irrelevant and 90% of us already acknowledge this.
    The real question is …. What is the “change”?

  46. avatar

    Love it or hate it, EC (and not as much European Parliament) have direct affect and bare responsibility for the situation in EU, just as much as Merkel’s refugee policy.
    As long as we replace Junker with someone like Salvani, before it’s too late, EU can have bright feature.
    As long as we don’t ratify CETA and TTIP, which make us all slaves to international corporate interest through ISDS-variants by ICSID.

  47. avatar

    The only european strategist is Guy Verhofstadt. He assembled an coordinated group of study on future federation at ALDE IM level.I think that our ideas about the institutional and policy reforms of the EU will pay out.

  48. avatar

    We want State Unite Europe

  49. avatar

    Its become like a dysfunctional team…less than the sum of its parts

  50. avatar

    Get rid of this corrupt by design and technocratic soviet like system, and build a real Swiss like democratic federation of culturally and linguistically coherent regions?

    • avatar

      completely agree

  51. avatar

    EU was created from the bankers…..and yeah 49 000 eu bureaucrats living on the taxpayers shoulders……so … Eu is irelevent to you mmmmhhhh ?!?

  52. avatar

    nothing will work out unless
    the common fiscal, financial issues are tackled and solved!!!
    Europe is no longer a trading area…just

    we cannot trade within a self killing…
    destructive competition.

  53. avatar

    The EU is a good Idea but the way it’s being done is horrible. it should be for europeans and certain immigrants we deem worthy. We must also make all member states equal instead of allowing germany and france to be the most powerful countries and the rest of us being the side kicks of one or the other

  54. avatar

    After many decades, may it possible to admit it do not work, whitout be insulted of fascist or racist ?

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