Europeans trust the EU more than their national governments. Polling by Eurobarometer has consistently recorded significantly higher levels of trust in the European Union than in national governments and parliaments. In the latest survey, 42% of citizens polled said they “tend to trust” the EU. Not bad, eh?

Not so fast. That just means the EU is doing well compared to national politics, which is really scraping rock bottom at the moment. It’s still the case that roughly half of Europeans (48%) say they “tend not to trust” the EU (with 10% saying they “don’t know”). Is there anything the EU can do to boost citizens’ trust?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Hector, who says (citing Eurobarometer) that trust in the EU has still not recovered since the Eurozone crisis. Looking at the numbers, this does seem to be the case (average trust in the EU was indeed higher before 2012, though there have been signs of improvement in the last couple of years).

How can we get citizens to trust the EU more? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Merja Kyllönen (GUE-NGL), Member of the European Parliament:

Linnéa Engström (Group of the Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

Liberal Democrats
Nils Torvalds (ALDE), Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
Alain Lamassoure  (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:

Bill Etheridge (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament:

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) / BigStock – melis
Editorially independent content supported by: The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). See our FAQ for more details.

This online debate seeks to follow up on the Chair’s Statement from FRA’s Fundamental Rights Forum 2018. The debate explores what EU institutions should do to protect the values set out in EU treaties and thereby protect everyone’s fundamental rights in the Union.

Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


Results for this issue

See the overall results

112 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    More financial oversight available too the common citizen (where the money comes from, where it goes) and more information difusion how too access such a database.

    Ideally if a citizen donates 1 euro he can track exactly in which project that 1 euro ends up used. The idea is the end result is: this euro left the public sector (eu budget) when it was traded in for a screw bought from X private sector company for a machine at a hungarian recycling center.

    The biggest problem is people are afraid the answer too that question (where is my euro) is it was traded for a screw with a hungarian prostitute and Vodka at the expensive EU research center. (while laughing at the stupid citizens)

    If this could be solved, or atleast appear too be solved, i think a lot of people would really appreciate the EU

  2. avatar

    surely be more guarantors of the citizen and less of the markets.

  3. avatar

    To lead, unambiguosly, the fight for human rights and the reason over nationalisms and populisms. Can’t be proud when people dying in our borders while EU turns his eyes otherside.

  4. avatar

    Respect the principle of subsidiarity, which is currently being observed only nominally.

  5. avatar

    1) Stop being USA’s puppets, who collude to subvert democracies.

    For example attempting to overthrow democratically elected presidents, like in Venezuela, support foreign sponsored coups, like in Ukraine, and sending military forces to assist rebel/Islamists, to overthrow the government Syria.

  6. avatar

    Existing europarties are nothing more than awkward marriages of convenience between national parties. There is thus no direct relationship between a Euro MP and a European citizen. It is mediated by the national party. EU institutions are trusted more than national precisely because they at least include agents more likely to be independent of national corruption schemes. There should be true European parties, ones not beholden to any specific national interests.

    Likewise, EC is aloof, elite and unaccountable, and seen like a Politburo. It should be replaced by a directly elected body. Perhaps a senate with more directly accountable representatives.

    The saccharine smiley face propaganda is received poorly. The EU would be better served by more serious communications. A willingness to engage in debate is more respected.

    We also lack European media. There is no such thing as a European CNN. All news of Europe continues to be filtered through the lens of national media served by the same old vested interests. Brussels is a distant capital for most people.

  7. avatar

    Put a travel ban on dangerous criminals and their associates. We don’t want them. Allow member states deport people who commit crimes.

  8. avatar

    Just like any other institution – work to reduce regulation and prohibitive legislation, work to introduce legislation that protects and empowers individual liberty.

  9. avatar
    catherine benning

    What should EU institutions do to boost your trust in them?

    Stop bringing in millions of people from the rest of the world in order to deliberately change the demographic population and cultural make up of indigenous Europeans in order to comply with the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan, as they are presently doing. And have done so for many decades whilst hiding it from their citizens.

    Theresa May, British PM, recently signed up to this in Morocco without ever notifying the British public that she was doing this.

  10. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Is that a genuine & serious question?

    There are only 3 “institutions” of consequence:

    • EU Parliament.
    • EU Council.
    • EU Commission.

    The EU to do list:

    * disclose truthfully and without hesitation the FINAL EU blueprint cum “business

    * show transparency & democratic openness by taking all EU Members & citizen
    FULLY into its confidence in planning the EU’s future structure-

    * abandoning the secretive but dubious political war of sovereign attrition-
    mischievously referred to as “step by step”-

    * preempt the need by everybody from guessing, distrusting and applying personal
    caution to seek ultimate certainty & safety in favor of an achievable extension of
    a proven economic union, standardization & limited harmonization-

    * preserving ones UN basic human right to a national identity, self determination
    =sovereignty- in the meantime- until the political climate becomes more mature
    and favorable here & globally to safely & democratically proceed-

    * end the hidden push and uncertain gamble (experiment) by political & corporate
    adventurer-ism who aim for a political USE super state- but denying its aim.

    * allow a “pedigreed” anti EU political party into the EU parliament- not prevent it-

    * the EU planners must end their fear and agitate to reduce the choices between
    the seven EU parties- who have many similar agendas- but are in fact all copies of
    pro EU parties and pose no real democratic alternative opposition- just bickering-

    * produce, nominate & elect honorable and respectable EU statesman- leaders-
    from within a select political or private sphere- avoiding bad choices from the
    many dishonorable, unsuitable & eager apparatchiks floating around-

    * have ONE separate, transparent but accessible EU planning/ think tank- instead
    all these hidden lobbyists, paid opinion makers cum friendly Friends, paid
    researchers, analytic’s AI toolmakers and sponsored Universities like the EUI
    cadre factory to “populate” the ECB and all its other “institutions” with “safe
    bets” etc..

    That would signal for me a promising beginning to see a new trend being set in motion & in the right direction! Or- is it another waste of time?

  11. avatar

    Shutdown the bureaucratic institutions!

  12. avatar

    They should stop humiliting Greece!!!!!We paid for pur mistakes more than we should have…whereas Germans never did !We are still waiting for the gold and money they took from the Greek National bank.We are still.waiting to be paid for the horros and destructions of wwII!Moreover nobody should think they are the best student in this classroom called EU.Greece is the mother and birthplace of the values of democracy,free spirit and speech, research of truth and progress.We have excellent scientists and a huge brain drain.Stop humiliating countries such as Greece or Italy!Stop protecting the banks.Be honest!Do not interfere with dangerous issues such as ” Prespes agreement”.Respect and you will be respected or else …αντε και γ…

    • avatar
      Jan Winter

      Where were Greeks with their protests when they were living WAAAY above their means for decades thanks to their own government’s reckless spending?

  13. avatar

    First of all, EU – issues must gain Salience in domestic Politics. These issues seem to appear to people who are less interested in politics as something far away, not as part of the politics that come to their mind easily. Sara Hobolt conducted many interesting studies to that question and especially when it comes to the EP elections, which are the second order elections after national elections Salience and media coverage must be increased. An increased voter turnout and increased trust into the european project are definitely correlated with awareness. One thing that could easily be done is to promote what already happened in the local broadcasting services. Although the “citizens App” is fulfilling this job already, this App is mainly used by people who are already more or less informed and interested. I guess many people would have some interest and trust if they would know the local projects next door are EU projects and they are not taking place in brussel. However Salience is the key

    • avatar

      I wouldn t say close but definetely change!Hope Italy can bargain this change because I believe Italy can do it

    • avatar

      the main question about €U today is to understand if it’s more usefull to close and rebuild the structure or to cancel at all.

  14. avatar

    How about reducing the technocratic apparatus with 80%,it costs us too much:8 billion euro.

  15. avatar

    thats an easy one…
    Work for the people more than the money…

  16. avatar

    agreements being made behind closed doors (council of ministers), allow elected officials to draft legislation (commission) and make a MUCH bigger deal of all the good things they do.

  17. avatar

    Fight unemployment is too much high

    • avatar

      No able bodied person should be unemployed. An agency should provide everyone with gainful employment. Someone hanging around with no qualifications can be employed in construction lifting and carrying. It is work.

    • avatar

      At the moment because of Fiscal dumping between European Countries we have countries with too much low unemployment and other with a too much high unemployment

  18. avatar

    For esemple:

    a) to attribute the legislative initiative to European Parliament too;

    b) to create a true european fiscal (and of balance) policy to finally complete the Economic and Monetary Union and to stop the austerity;

    c) to harmonize the national policy of immigrazion and support the repatriations;

    d) not to interfere with the family and matrimonial law of the country of the European Union.

  19. avatar

    To me, EU should encourage investment bank in each member countries. The main problem in EU countries the tense between centres and fractured cities and towns in periphery. The investment banks and governments collaborated with private sectors can decrease the inequality and empower the fractured cities in peripheries. The market oriented capitalism cannot succeed in. If we cannot tackle this severe inequality, the populist parties will continue to gain more ground.

  20. avatar

    42% tending to trust the EU represents a very small amount of citizens! What a weak target. As ways for improvement let’s start with the Commission which should get rid of its schlerotic and neurotic management and working methods and its sheer ignorance of Member States identity and problems

  21. avatar

    a 5:1 wage policy, whereby CEOs and directors can only earn 5x more than any other employee.

  22. avatar

    Send the immigrants and the paupers away. Stop plebs

  23. avatar

    Not specifically related to the institutions, but the idea of an european federation is disgusting. If the EU could take a clear position against that, that would be a good step forward

  24. avatar

    Nothing they could possibly do to gain my trust, and unless we leave we no deal I dont trust our politicians either. They are forcing us to forever after forced integration with a 3rd world who does not share our traditional values, and subserviency to dictatorship

  25. avatar

    1. change polity – Decentralize the institutions! Why most of the institutions are placed in Belgium, France, Nederland? Place some bodies in South-European countries.

    2. Budget Revision- do more with less money, be more efficient.

    3. stop saying more democracy and start explaining how things actually work. Opinions are not stabilizing economy or politics.

    • avatar
      Jan Winter

      France is the EU’s profligate “South”

  26. avatar

    1. Fight tax evasion! It is not tolerable that big companies are still paying nearly no taxes. If countries like Ireland are not following, lower the EU funds/payments for these countries. Like in Hungary, were constant Article 2 violations take place, one could argue that “tax paradises” like Ireland also violate Art. 2 principles.

    2. Get done with the European Financial transaction tax finally! Stock market players have to pay a fair share when using the European financial market to raise their profits. Since they are responsible for financial crisis, it is not acceptable that they are not paying their part to the European citizens.

    3. Stop building a fortress! The EU’s migration and refugee policy is a shame! Bearer of the Peace Noble prize and denier of Fundamental rights. All of the reform plans of the CEAS are unacceptable and a shame for Europ (centres in third countries, disembarkation platforms, fast proceedures etc.).

    4. Stop giving in to populists! A clear position against fascists like Orban and rightextremists like Kaczyński has to be taken. There is no deal-making with destructive minds like they are. In the worst case, let them go and be on their own but don’t let them use the Union of freedom and peace to blackmail the latter with their positions of nationalism.

  27. avatar

    Create jobs and well being.
    Provide services to citizens.
    Protect human health and environment.
    Invest to education, innovation and R&D.
    Enable more young people to study in other EU Member States.
    Communicate openly and transparently.
    Be present in people’s everyday lives.
    Show some impact.

    Make it known that these are achieved by EU. Now-a-days local politicians gladly take the glory of things that are actually products of the EU cooperation and blame EU for all problems.

  28. avatar
    Paul X

    How can people trust the EU more than national governments when it has no responsibilities?
    National governments have to tax the electorate, and they have to justify why they need these taxes to have any chance of being elected into power

    Where as the EU has none of these pressures , it gets it’s money with very little effort

    It’s easy to see National governments as the “bad guy” when they are in the front line facing the taxpayers

  29. avatar

    Do more real things for the benefit of Europe rather than wasting time and money to make the America Great again.

  30. avatar

    1. Defend the borders and take robust measures against nations which participate in or tolerate human trafficking.

    2. One citizen – one vote — otherwise it is no democracy. I can’t be that 11 Mio Greeks get 22 MEPs and 81 Mio Germans less than 100 Members of Parliament.

    3. A Commission of, by and for the people.

    4. Get Parliament TV into the cable channels.

  31. avatar

    Stop immigration
    Stop importing junk food and junk products
    Stop editing rules for everything which are enforced only for European citizens
    Build a tax and social policy to avoid tax dumping in Europe and allow to tax Gafa
    Be less open to lobbyes
    Stop enlarging Europe and say no to Turkey

  32. avatar

    Stop being an autocracy might help.

  33. avatar

    Not being leftists ruling, and we dont want to supprt all the burocrats

  34. avatar

    Time to start the end of plutocracy.
    If you fear “populism” (the foundation of democracy) you will know what it means.

  35. avatar

    Stop humiliating people and governments who are not in the best position to defend themselves after that you f****d them with all the shoes with your nazi policies might be a good start for example, especially if those countries are net contributors.

  36. avatar
    Jan Winter

    Scale back the EU instead of turning it into EUSSR. Any effort to create a “union” from above will end up in bitter tears.
    USSR was a projection of Russian imperialism. “Federal” EU (in fact centralist, dirigist, interventionist superstate) is a projection of French delusions of grandeur, paid for by German guilt money.

  37. avatar

    you speak of a debate, but then you provide a boutique of opinions to chose from….what if the consumerist view of political markets is part of the problem?

  38. avatar

    Have more power. Get inflation back to 2% ASAP

  39. avatar

    Change the complete system; instead of
    Unidealistic overpaid bureaucrats, create a platform for workgroups and citizens to work out a real social ethical Europe for the citizen, instead of big corporations!

  40. avatar

    Control our borders… Prevent cheap Chinese polluting products to come in. Prevent illegal migrants to come in. Protect europe

  41. avatar

    Get rid of the globalist oligarchy.

  42. avatar

    Imprison politicians who are responsible for inviting terrorism in EU, and those who signed treaties that put ISDS from ICSID above any law, and that is – treason.

  43. avatar

    I dunno, apparently only giving free money works, but really backfires when the money runs out

  44. avatar

    Fight against coruption. Easter counties are in EU just with the name , coruption is worsth then comunist.

  45. avatar

    They should stop social and wellfare imigration.

  46. avatar
    Matt N

    Turn themselves into the police

  47. avatar

    they certainly should not backtrack on their pesticide ban programme just because Bayer bought Monsanto..the EU is the arbiter of last resort, it can do so because together we are is unacceptable to backtrack on the banning of pesticides that are affecting our bee populations and causing cancers and illnesses just because the evil american corporation has not joined forces with a German one.

    • avatar

      Bayer, Monsanto, and the big banks that provided the bridging loan for the purchase have some of the same owners.
      They simply restructured their GMO-business in order to gain a better foothold in Europe.

  48. avatar

    Direct democracy. Directly chosen representatives. Get rid of Timmermans, Verhofstadt, Juncker and those other aspiring dictators.

  49. avatar

    Stop interfering in natioinal matters.

  50. avatar

    give power to elected meps not to commissioners

  51. avatar

    Equality in all EU countries… That means healthcare, salaries, jobs…. And benefits to the needy

  52. avatar

    Abolish or occupy states on Balkans and abolish their institutions.

  53. avatar

    Delete europe see the joy of not cooperating apologise and reunite again..this is the only scenario i am afraid..people enjoy being uneducated screamers that want to have opinions without really looking for an answer…it would be very very justified. And then see even the real difference…we are the most spoiled, thinking we know it all generation!! With all the knwoledge laying around for pickups we want to hear nonsense…

  54. avatar

    Make a hard turn to the right politically
    and get some independence. Otherwise get rid of the eussr.

  55. avatar

    Establish Direct connections with citizens.
    EU Parliamentarians represent their political parties and bosses not the people ..

  56. avatar

    Nothing, absolutely nothing. EU is useless on every possible level. EU in its current form the doesn’t represent the interests of the EU citizens.
    The EU is a neoliberal project form the 1990s to make the rich richer. When you say that the EU is made to increase my quality of life and my well-being while at the same time we see thousand of beaurocrats who live a luxury life on the expense of the EU citizens, who are absolutely irresponsible before their people because of their absolute immunity, when we see a European leaders who make whatever Erdogan wishes them to do, when they close their eyes for his authoritarian regime but they protest against the Hagia Sophia case which is nothing, when all of this happen, all nations from Ireland to Estonia and from Sweden to Greece become eurosceptic. If you want to boost my trust in the European Union – reform it!

  57. avatar

    More power to the European Parliament.

  58. avatar

    Make tax escape/shifting from a member state to another illegal, by ruling tax must be paid in the state the final sale of product/service occurs.

  59. avatar

    Integration in all senses, must go ahead, and as quickly as possible. Many countries don’t agree on the moment, but there isn’t any other solution.

  60. avatar

    More power to the directly-elected parliament. Less putting up with non-democratic special interests. Be harsher on corruption.

  61. avatar

    Trust in me, boosting trusting in us.

  62. avatar

    EU must work. collectively. Now is dominated by reactionary Germany. The overwhelming majority of citizens have fear for such a leadership

    • avatar

      With a 2/3 majority of the Club Med everywhere …

  63. avatar

    Give the EP more power; honor the Spitzenkandidaten-process; make all Council-votes qualified majority votes; sanction violations of EU law; follow through on environmental commitments; set goals/visions for a united Europe; reform Dublin. Just to name a few

  64. avatar

    Presence. Hire a bunch of lawyer, and solve problems, even national institute against it.

    • avatar

      Never gonna happen… :(

  65. avatar

    No more unanimity, one embassy, one army, one taxation, Europe first in choice of producer

  66. avatar

    You trust people not names of organizations. So lets remember the basics.

  67. avatar

    Probably nothing, but it would be a good start if they would stop interfering in much-needed judicial reform in Poland. I am not a supporter of the Polish government, but the EU’s tactics on this have been so scummy – threats, supporting protests, media blitzes, economic sanctions… All while publicly supporting the blm / defund the police movement.
    I can’t understand why the EU leadership is S
    so committed to protecting bad Polish judges and calling it ‘rule of law’.

    • avatar

      dude. Making judiciary subservient to government is needed only for types like Putin

    • avatar

      So you are saying that ‘defund the Police’ is a Putinist movement? Why don’t you go visit a Polish court and when you actually know what you are talking about, come back and leave a comment. Was Joe Biden being a Putinist when he had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired?

  68. avatar

    Equality between EU member countries. Same minimum wage, same benefits. Otherwise it is unfair. If the EU wants to compete with cheap labour trade countries like China they could reduce the minimum wage and subsidise it with a GMI.

  69. avatar

    Eu should be significantly less bureaucratic

  70. avatar

    It should be near to EU citizens..stop by making illegal to tax shifting from one member state to another! Allowing this is to make “legal” tax heaven.

    • avatar

      Most of the tax havens are in British Overseas Territories. Why do you think the Conservative party and their UKIP party plant wanted Brexit?

  71. avatar

    Respect the treaties, for example: no bail out

  72. avatar
    Simon the European

    -Making tax evasion/tax optimization impossible to stop the deadly competition between EU countries. Sanction tax heavens strongly by forbiding any transation/business within the EU.

    -Answer to basic revendication on economical protection: stop forcing countries to privatize their public sector, install a minimal wage in countries with similar living standard, establish high customs tax on countries that do not play fairly (0 ecological constraint..), stop the unfair “posted worker” policy (a Bulgarian should pay the same cotisation than a German if he works in Germany).

    -Reform the decision making process : Unanimity is killing us. We need to decide by a majority (50% or 60% but not 100%…).

    -Make the EU a Geopolitical power: Create an army and leave NATO.

    -Increase contact between people (make Erasmus mandatory for at least a semester, create a a EU mandatory civil service, create a European public TV…)

  73. avatar

    a deception and a hoax created by politicians, they torture the people with taxes and slavery to carry out the laundering of public money, there is no justice, security, health, social status, a profound hypocrisy that serves a corrupt system with total impunity, they add up the cases of MEPs and states involved in conflict of interest and corruption schemes with total impunity

  74. avatar

    Remove all elite status provided for being some EU parliament member…

  75. avatar

    Stop discriminating between Northern and Southern countries.

  76. avatar

    We trust the EU but no the current political system. They bring to financial callapas the only thing that keeps then in power is the fear for worst but for how long?

  77. avatar

    How can people trust EU institutions if the EU parliament can base on fake news fabricated by a BBC reporter to sanction its biggest business partner, when economic recovery is so important in this downturn caused by the pandemic?

  78. avatar

    When EU institutions are following the US-led to fight for American great again and stopping China from transcending the US, when China is working hard for self-transcendence and working hard to satisfy the people’s aspiration and pursuance of a better life. Which system is genuinely governing for the people? We have to ask who are people of the EU institutions? European or American? When China’s economic size grows from US$218.5 billion in 1978 (announcement of the open door policy) to $14720 billion in 2020. What Europe has been doing as a much more affluent and advance region than China? My opinion is, play less politics and work harder for the socioeconomic interests of should be able to boost people’s trust.

  79. avatar

    As we have seen that Biden administration is very eager to secure a US-led alliance with EU, Biden’s withdrawal of the North Stream II and softening in the Iran Nuclear Deal, currently meeting Putin, and US Treasury Secretary and US trade representative are requesting China to resume talking, etc. All these have clearly demonstrated that the US would not be able to lead without EU, Russia or China. It is time for EU to reshape the EU-US partnership. It should be a equal or even a leading one for EU is the largest economy than the US. More importantly, EU is a democratic union of sovereign states. As the US has been found spying on EU influential leaders and enterprises, the US has been able to manipulate public opinion and improperly influence European leaders and policies. Even worse, the US has been able to steal commercial secrets easily, which has led to the unlawful acquisition of French Alstom, Japanese Mitsubishi, and currently still playing on Chinese Huawei and Tik Tok, etc. It is time to release EU from poisonous intelligence sharing, control of NATO so that EU can stand up as a sovereignty and independence union required to boost trust of its citizens.

  80. avatar

    Be more European than American, if EU institutions wish to win the trust of the EU citizens.

  81. avatar

    If France and EU cannot even protect its citizens Frédéric Pierucci and protect Alstom an European enterprise of a member state from being embezzled by the America and made European nuclear energy directly under control, how can EU institutions can earn trust from itself citizens. Again the current North Stream II, the American only yielded to the pressure of China and Russia, not to EU. Currently, US and Canada have captured Huawei Meng Wanzhou, and rejected her evidence obtained directly from the Hong Kong Bank for self-defence, have any EU institution utter a word? If EU institutions and leaders kneel before the America, how can they earn people’s trust? Even worse, when people are using freedom and liberty to do riots and refused to take the vaccine, they are just murderers. There is no individual freedom and liberty can justify mass killing. The whole world is in war time, a new type of war with virus as weapons. In this new era and widespread of weapon of mass destruction, weapons to kill can exist in every way, including virus. It is time for EU leaders to govern with mentality and knowledge of the new era and abandon the old and outdated mentality of the Cold War in the last century and take responsibility to answer the call of China in building a community of common health for mankind. .More than 4.34 million perished and 206 million infected.

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