The European Parliament released today its Spring 2023 Eurobarometer survey showing citizens’ strong support for democracy and a high awareness of the upcoming European elections.
One year ahead of the next European elections, public interest in these elections has measurably increased. A clear majority of citizens (56%) are interested in the next European elections, 6 points higher compared to 2018, one year before the last European elections.
Around two thirds of respondents (67%) say they would be likely to vote if the European elections were held next week. A similar question was included in the EP Eurobarometer survey in April 2018, when 58% said they were likely to do so, indicating that citizens are currently more inclined to vote in the 2024 European elections than they were at a similar point in time before the 2019 elections.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, commenting on the results of the survey, said: “Elections matter. Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues important to you. I call on everyone and particularly our young people to go to vote and shape the European Union you want to live in.”
With elections being a cornerstone of every democracy, European citizens consider democracy the most important value for the European Parliament to defend: 37% of respondents see the defence of democracy as a priority, followed by the protection of human rights in the EU and worldwide (28%) as well as freedom of speech and thought (27%).
54% of respondents are satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU. Looking at various elements of democracy in the EU, citizens are most satisfied with free and fair elections (70%), freedom of speech (70%) and the respect for fundamental rights (66%), while being less satisfied with the fight against disinformation and corruption.
Four years into the European Parliament’s current legislative term, citizens acknowledge the EU’s leading role on tackling the consecutive crises that have marked this period. A vast majority of EU citizens is aware of the impact the EU has on their daily lives: Around seven in ten (71%) share this opinion, including close to a fifth (18%) for whom the EU’s actions ‘very much’ have an impact. The role of the European Parliament is recognised as well – 62% recall having recently heard about the EP.
The EU’s support for Ukraine stands out as the accomplishment citizens are by far most satisfied with: 69% are satisfied with these actions. Satisfaction is highest in the Netherlands (90%), Sweden (87%), Finland (87%) and Ireland (87%). Respondents in Slovakia (45%) and Greece (48%) have the lowest satisfaction rates. Satisfaction with EU action is also relatively high in the areas of protecting democratic rights and the respect for the rule of law (64%) as well as foreign policy (54%).
The past years’ multiple crises are clearly visible when looking at the state of the economy and the financial situation of citizens. Half of respondents (50%) see a decline in their standard of living and expect this to carry on over the next year. Another 29% have not yet experienced such a reduction but expect it to happen over the next year. This also increases expectations for concrete solutions: Close to two thirds (65%) are not satisfied with the measures taken by their own country to tackle the cost of living crisis, and 57% are not satisfied with what the EU has done to alleviate the situation.
In line with this, citizens want the European Parliament to put the fight against poverty and social exclusion first (38%). This priority is followed by public health (33%), action against climate change (31%) and support to the economy and the creation of new jobs (31%).
Full results can be found here.
The European Parliament’s Spring 2023 Eurobarometer survey was carried out by Kantar between 2 and 26 March in all 27 EU Member States. The survey was conducted face-to-face, with video interviews (CAVI) used additionally in Czechia, Denmark, Finland and Malta. 26 376 interviews were conducted in total. EU results were weighted according to the size of the population in each country.