European & International News

Perception of positive impact of EU policies on social situation dips dramatically

[Social Platform, Brussels, 01 December 2011] The EU observer reported on a Commission survey on social issues that was released this week. It shows that the public’s belief that the EU is having a positive impact on employment and social policy - policies with the biggest impact on ordinary peoples’ lives - has sharply declined in almost all countries.

Before the economic crisis the level of support for EU social policies remained stable over a number of years. Between 62 and 78 percent of respondents thought the EU was having a positive impact across a series of eight questions dealing with issues such as boosting employment, fighting poverty and protecting social services.

Numbers have now dropped to between 48 and 67 percent. The drop-off has been sharpest in eurozone peripheral countries. “In Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus especially, public perceptions of the EU’s ability to make a positive impact have deteriorated dramatically,” the survey reports.

“The evolution [in levels of support] are particularly striking regarding creating new job opportunities and fighting unemployment,” the paper notes. Overall, belief that the EU is working well to reduce unemployment has slumped 17 percentage points in two years.

Separate from the eight detailed policy questions, the survey for the first time asked citizens what impact the EU was having overall on social policy and employment policy.

The survey found in response to the two questions that a slim majority of Europeans overall still consider the EU to be having a beneficial impact on social policy - 51 percent - and employment policy - 52 percent.

The poll, which interviewed 1000 individuals, took place between 24 September and 9 October 2011.

Read the full article on EU Observer.

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