The results of this survey on the elections should be considered in the context of the current international situation. In fact, the survey's fieldwork (January/February) coincides with highly-charged international events: the inauguration of Barack Obama, the launch of his first recovery plan, the situation in Gaza, etc.
There are a number of important trends to note:
Campaign issues: unemployment is by far the campaign issue which Europeans wish to see tackled as a priority during the European electoral debate. This result confirms the enormous concern of Europeans in the face of the present situation and that which is to come, especially as regards their personal situation.
Level of awareness of the elections: the increase in awareness of the date is confirmed in comparison with the last two surveys. On the other hand, interest in the elections is not increasing and the likelihood of voting or not voting remains the same. The factors influencing the voter's choice in the election (candidates' experience both in the European and national domains, electoral program etc.) as well as the factors which cause them to abstain from voting are practically the same as those which were analysed in the EB/PE69 (Spring 2008).
The role of the EP: opinion is polarising gradually as we get closer to the election. Practically half of Europeans want to see it play a more important role while one sixth states the contrary. The number of "don't know" answers is decreasing.
Media recall of the EP: it is decreasing because of the international context as previously mentioned.
The EP and the expectations of European citizens:
The demand for greater protection of the consumer and of public health as well as a better coordination of economic, budgetary and fiscal policies are the issues citizens most want to see addressed as a priority by the EP. As unemployment is the priority campaign issue, it is absolutely clear that it is the areas associated with the daily and personal life of Europeans which are paramount. This leads to a demand for greater protection at EU level in the face of a crisis, the end of which no-one currently knows. In parallel, we note from these results that the international role of the EU is perceived as less important for European citizens. There is currently an increase in those who would like the Union to address, as a priority, their everyday problems.
As regards values, the protection of human rights in the world is still in first place with a jump of 4 percentage points. The international context, marked by an intensification of certain conflicts and by increasing repression in many regions of the world, undoubtedly has a bearing on this. It is also presumably the reason why the defence of freedom of expression, evaluated for the first time, is found in 4th place (30%) of the values which the Parliament should defend as a priority.
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