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March 9, 2021

Eurobarometer: Europeans want EU coordinated action against financial crisis

Nearly two thirds of the EU population favoured coordinated action by the EU countries to fight the economic crisis, but only 39% believed that, so far, this has happened sufficiently. In a poll conducted from mid January to mid February, 81 per cent of respondents said the financial crisis has important consequences for the European economy, while 58 per cent said they already felt these consequences in their personal lives. Over two thirds of EU citizens think that measures currently discussed at EU level such as stronger coordination of economic and financial policies and greater EU financial supervision are effective, a comunique by the European Parliaments reads. The EU was seen overall as more capable of dealing with the crisis than national governments; choosing between five options, 17 per cent of respondents preferred the EU to deal with the crisis against 14 per cent who preferred their national government to do so. But even more felt that the G8 was the most effective forum (25 per cent).

National variations were wide on this issue, however, with the EU considered least capable by respondents in the United Kingdom (6 per cent), Sweden (8 per cent) and Denmark (9 per cent), while people in Greece, Cyprus and Poland had most confidence in the EU (28, 27 and 26 per cent respectively). The G8 was considered most capable by respondents in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden (36, 35 and 34 per cent respectively) and least capable by people in Malta, Romania and Ireland (10, 11 and 12 per cent). Feelings on the benefits of the euro were mixed. Overall, 44 per cent of respondents felt that the euro had mitigated negative effects whereas 39 per cent felt it had not. But again national variations were wide: in Slovakia 66 per cent felt that the euro had helped soften the blows, while in the UK, which is not part of the euro zone, only 27 per cent felt so. Asked if their national currency would have provided better protection, views were evenly split in countries with the euro: 45 per cent agreed and 45 per cent did not.

Here as well results varied widely from Portugal with 62 per cent saying that the escudo would have helped better, to Slovakia with 72 per cent feeling safer with the euro. In countries outside the eurozone, Hungarians would have preferred to have had the euro (61 per cent), while only 17 per cent of Bulgarians thought so.

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