The Parlemeter of the European Parliament (EB/EP 82.4) was conducted face-to-face by TNS opinion, in the 28 Member States, among 27.801 EU citizens. The fieldwork took place between 29 November and 9 December 2014.
As was the case in the wake of the 2009 European elections, at the end of 2014 there was a significant ‘European elections effect’ in people’s media recall of the Parliament, and this was present in the minds of nearly six out of every ten Europeans (58%).
This survey does nonetheless reveal that while people had heard about the European Parliament, they did not feel particularly informed about it. In fact, the vast majority of Europeans (67%) did not feel well informed about its activities.
The image European citizens have of the European Parliament remains largely neutral (43%). This is the case in 21 Member States.
European citizens’ knowledge of its structure and how it operates has improved since June 2013.
When questioned on the elements of the European identity, respondents clearly placed values of democracy and freedom (47%) above all else, and this has increased in 22 Member States. The single currency (40%), which was ranked first a year ago, now takes second place but remains a strong factor of identity for all countries in the Eurozone.
A longstanding question on the Eurobarometer, EU membership was perceived as a good thing by an absolute majority of Europeans (54%), including those not in the Eurozone.
As for the pace of EU integration, increasing numbers of Europeans (49%) feel it is preferable to wait until all Member States are ready before continuing to develop new common policies. This position is most common in countries severely affected by the crisis.
When asked, as in 2013, whether they felt their voice counted, 58% felt that their voice counted in their own country and 41% felt that their voice counted in the EU.
A clear majority of responses (63%) in all Member States considered that the election of the President of the Commission, taking into account the results of the European elections, represented significant progress for democracy within the EU.
Tackling poverty and social exclusion (54%) continues to grow in popularity and remains the number one priority policy for implementation by the European Parliament in 25 Member States. The issues of immigration (25%, +6) and combatting terrorism (29%, +4) showed the greatest increase in popularity, revealing new dividing lines between Member States. It was the same for security and defence policy (27%).
For European citizens, protecting human rights (60%) is far and away the number one value to be defended by the European Parliament. This is followed by gender equality (36%) and freedom of expression (34%), which are also increasing. It is noteworthy that only one value is in decline at European level, and that is solidarity between EU Member States (30%).
Finally, when asked what the situation would be like if their country were outside the EU, a majority felt that their country would do ‘worse’ without the EU in 11 of the 15 areas given. In four other areas, a majority felt that their country would do ‘neither better nor worse’ if it were outside the EU. People were, in contrast, highly divided between ‘better’ and ‘worse’ in the following three areas: inflation and the cost of living, immigration and agriculture.
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