As the continent gears up for European elections in June 2024, recent data has dealt a devastating blow to the EU. A study has revealed that a mere 36 percent of the French hold a favourable impression of the European Parliament, significantly lower than the EU average of 56 percent. In fact, the French rank among the most disenchanted populations in Europe, alongside the Greeks, Cypriots, and Slovaks. According to a survey conducted by Eurobarometer, only 40 percent of French people expressed any interest in the upcoming elections at this early stage. This disengagement places France among the countries with the lowest rates of interest in the European Union.
These findings shed light on the considerable challenges faced by European institutions in gaining public trust and support.
Notably, the French also harbour one of the poorest images of the EU overall. Merely 35 percent of the French consider their country’s EU membership a positive thing, while a mere 15 percent view it negatively. In contrast, a significant majority of 72 percent of the Irish populace perceives EU membership as a beneficial aspect.
Moreover, the French lag behind in staying informed about current events at the European Parliament. Only 39 percent of respondents claimed to have come across information about the European Parliament in the press, making it the lowest rate in the EU.
This lack of information, however, does not appear to be directly linked to the negative perception of the EU as countries that are well-informed, such as Belgium, also hold a rather negative impression of the European Parliament. Conversely, Ireland, where the population is well-informed, exhibits a more positive view of the European Parliament.
The upcoming 2024 European elections present a crucial opportunity for European institutions to address these pressing issues.
The low interest, critical attitudes, and lack of information among the French population demand proactive efforts to engage citizens and foster a sense of European solidarity. Building trust, improving transparency, and effectively communicating the benefits of EU membership are vital tasks that must be undertaken to revitalise French enthusiasm for European integration.
As the date of the elections draws nearer, it remains to be seen how the French and European authorities will address these challenges and work towards bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens. The success of these endeavours will be pivotal in shaping the future of France’s relationship with the European Union and the collective destiny of Europe as a whole.
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In Germany, a different poll it has been revealed that a significant portion of the German population believes that the drawbacks of European Union (EU) membership surpass the benefits.
According to the survey, 27 percent of Germans now hold this viewpoint, marking a notable increase of 12 percent since July 2020.
On the other hand, the percentage of individuals who perceive more advantages than disadvantages has decreased by 14 percent, with only 26 percent currently holding this perspective.
Interestingly, 41 percent of respondents feel that the advantages and disadvantages are evenly balanced, showing no significant change compared to the previous year.
These findings shed light on the shifting sentiments of the German population towards EU membership.