Greeks are the least optimistic Europeans concerning the future of the European Union, while the two main concerns across Europe are immigration and climate change, according to the latest Eurobarometer, which was released on Monday.
According to 34 percent of respondents across the EU, immigration remains the main cause of concern, although this number represents a decline of six percentage points compared to the autumn of 2018.
Twenty-two percent of Europeans believed that climate change was their most important concern, while that issue came in fifth in importance in the survey conducted in the Autumn of 2018, with only 16 percent of respondents giving it primary importance.
Three concerns have remained constant among Europeans since 2018: their economic situation, which at 18 percent, remains unchanged; the state of public finances of member states, at 8 percent, or -1 percentage point; and terrorism, which is now at 18 percent, showing a decrease of two percentage points.
The state of the environment follows as the primary area of concern of 13 percent of respondents, which represents an increase of four percentage points over the previous figures.
Unemployment, which now ranks seventh in concern at the EU level, or 12 percent, remains the main concern at the national level for respondents at 21 percent, which shows a decrease of 2 percentage points. Rising prices/inflation/cost of living comes in as the main worry for 21 percent of EU citizens, followed by health and social security issues at 21 percent, which represents an increase of 1 percentage point.
In Greece, the biggest areas of concern regarding the future of the EU are immigration, which is cited by 37 percent of respondents (higher than the 34 percent European average).
One notable difference between Greeks and other Europeans is shown by the finding that Europeans ranked second in worrying about climate change (22 percent), while in Greece the corresponding figure was only six percent.
Greeks the most pessimistic about the future of EU
Greeks remained the most pessimistic nation concerning the future of the EU. Specifically, although optimism about the future in Greece has increased by fully eight percent since last autumn, it is the only country in Europe in which pessimistic opinions outnumber optimistic views (at 51 percent vs. 45 percent).
Overall, a solid majority of Europeans, at 61 percent, or an increase of 3 percentage points, are optimistic about the future of the EU; only 34 percent are pessimistic. This shows a three percent decrease is pessimistic views since the last survery.
Optimism was significantly high in Ireland, at 85 percent, Denmark, polling at 79 percent, Lithuania, with 76 percent, and Poland, which came in at 74 percent in this regard.
Less optimistic are the people in the United Kingdom (47 percent vs. 46 percent) and France (50 percent vs. 45 percent). Regarding the image of the EU, the proportion of respondents who had a positive image, at 45 percent, increased significantly, reaching its highest level since spring 2009, when it was measured at 48 percent.
This increase was also significant with the Greek populace, of which 33 percent had a positive image of the EU, an increase of eight percentage points since the last survey.
In addition, Greeks’ confidence in the EU increased by six percent, to 33 percent, compared to the European average of 44 percent. Europeans’ support for the euro currency has also reached a new record high, with over three-quarters (76 percent) of eurozone citizens in favor of the EU single currency.
This represents an increase of one percentage point since the last survey and nine points since the spring of 2014.
The Eurobarometer is a series of public opinion surveys on behalf of the European Commission which has been conducted regularly since 1973.