This survey of Europeans and the crisis is the second one instigated by the European Parliament. The first took place in January/February 2009, preceding the European elections of June 2009.
Between the two European Parliament enquiries, the European Union launched various initiatives aimed at fighting the crisis: regulations, a European monetary fund, economic governance, 2020 strategy, etc. The Parliament has taken stances on some of these, or is about to, through various global reports.
At the same time, Member States have launched deep budgetary reforms aimed at reducing public deficits.
It is in this context that Europeans were questioned about their concerns relating to the crisis: How they perceive the responses of the EU and the Member States? What they think about solidarity between Member States? Which actors are most able to combat the crisis? What priority policies should be decided today at EU level? What next for the EU in 2020? etc.
27 218 citizens were interviewed face-to-face by TNS Opinion. The results confirmed the great worries of Europeans in the face of the crisis - concerns which were already evident in the former Eurobarometer. The main findings are as follows:
Europeans would clearly like the EU and its Member States to act in a more coordinated way, but less so than they did in January 2009.
They clearly want Member States to be more active in dealing with the crisis.
In the light of a widespread feeling that poverty is rising, European citizens want the EU's policies to be developed with a focus on protecting them directly: tackling poverty and exclusion, improving consumer protection etc. They are more in favour of these individual-oriented policies than global issues, such as climate change.
There is a divided opinion on which kind of measures should be taken to end the crisis: Which is the better route: austerity or economy-boosting measures?
Respondents showed massive support for financial regulation and measures to control the banking system.
They showed clear support for financial solidarity with EU Member States in difficult economic situations.
Respondents support a convergence of the economic, fiscal and financial policies of all Member States.
A significant amount of Europeans found themselves unable to give a definite answer to economic questions on a large scale (national, global etc.). This reflects their sensitivity to the uncertainties of finding a solution to the crisis.
The results also displayed national trends in line with the Member States' domestic situations (which vary greatly). It should be remembered that the EU average is weighted according to demographic and population criteria.
Results also showed uncertainty as to the effectiveness of the euro to fight the crisis.
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