Romanians’ approval in European Union leadership last year increased 7 per cent compared to 2012, up to 46 per cent of the population, but an even more pronounced increase is recorded among young people (15-30 years), where confidence improved by 10 per cent to 57 per cent, according to a European survey poll by Gallup, HotNews.ro informs
In 2013, the leadership of the European Union earned some of its lowest approval ratings in Europe from residents living in several countries that the EU bailed out financially. In Spain and Greece, approval levels hit record lows, suggesting that residents are connecting austerity measures and the economic hardship they impose with the EU’s leadership. Although it suffered double-digit losses in support in countries such as Cyprus and Spain (the latter of which exited the bailout program at the end of 2013), low approval of the EU’s leadership was not limited to bailout countries. Fewer than one in three approved of the EU’s leadership in the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. At the other end of the spectrum are Luxembourg, Germany, and Belgium, where a majority of residents approve of EU leadership. Approval has remained relatively high in Germany, which many observers see as one of the economic and political leaders of the EU, and in Belgium and Luxembourg, where many of the EU institutions are located. Even in these countries, however, at least one in five disapprove.
Europeans between the ages of 15 and 30 are and have been, on average, the most likely to support the EU’s leadership. In 2011, a majority of young people in only a handful of countries disapproved of the EU’s leadership. In 2013, the youngest generation continued to be the most likely to approve of EU leadership compared with the older age groups. In 14 EU countries, a majority of this youngest group approved of EU leadership. Despite continued approval of EU leadership among the younger generation, recent developments appear to have negatively affected young peoples’ perceptions of the EU. In 2013, approval of EU leadership declined among the youngest group in several countries, including some of the bailout countries where the EU-imposed austerity measures have disproportionately affected the younger generation’s job prospects and economic well-being. In 2013, unemployment rates among 25- to 29-year-olds reached new heights of 41 percent in Greece, 34 percent in Spain, 22 percent in Portugal, 20 percent in Italy, and 16 percent in Ireland, according to Eurostat and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The situation is even worse for the 15 to 24 age group.