Baltic State’ people attitude towards the “EU project” are varied: the European elections made a difference

The Eurobarometer survey report published presently outlines EU citizens’ perception of the current economic situation, their main concerns and trust in political institutions.

The present, “Spring 2014 Standard Eurobarometer” was conducted through face-to-face interviews between 31 May and 14 June 2014. A total of 32,689 people were interviewed across the EU-28 states and in the candidate countries.

The report’s outcomes published presently outline EU citizens’ perception of the current economic situation, their main concerns and trust in political institutions.

After the European Parliament elections, the number of citizens who feel their voice counts in the EU has risen from 29% in November 2013 to 42%. This is the highest level since this question was first put into the Standard Eurobarometer a decade ago (Table 1). In addition, 65% of EU citizens feel like “a European”, up from 59% in the last Autumn Eurobarometer in 2013.

However, from the EU’ analysis is seen that 74 % of Latvians do not agree that their voice couints in European affairs, with 50% in Lithuania and 68% in Estonia.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioner responsible for inter-institutional relations and administration in the EU acknowledged that “being through challenging times, Europe is now turning the corner”. Joint efforts at European level to set Europe on the path of economic recovery are starting to pay off. Not only are the economic indicators improving but so too is the attitude of citizens towards the economic situation.

He argued that many debates around the EP’s elections, including the Citizens’ Dialogues, have brought Europe closer to its citizens.

For the first time since the beginning of the financial crisis seven years ago, more Europeans think the economic situation will improve in the next 12 months and almost three out of four people do not expect a negative trend. And for the first time in years, the percentage of Europeans who believe that the impact of the crisis on the job market has reached its peak is larger than that of those who think that the worst is still to come.

And whilst Lithuania is getting ready to adopt Europe’s single currency from January 2015, there is a 10 percentage point increase (since autumn 2013) in the number of Lithuanians who say they are in favour of the euro. There are similar trends across Europe: + 10 percentage points in Latvia and Cyprus; + 5 percentage points in Portugal and Greece.

Finally, people are more optimistic about the future of the EU. Since last November, there has been a rise of five percentage points in those saying they are optimistic while the number of those saying they are pessimistic has fallen by five percentage points. More than half of the people now have an optimistic outlook (56%) whilst only two out of five do not entirely share this sentiment (36%).

Since November 2013, the Baltic States increased their support for the common currency’s idea: Latvia +15%, Lithuania +10% and Estonia +4%. Generally, almost all Estonians (80%) support the idea of EMU and common currency, while 68% in Latvia and 50% in Lithuania.