The summer 2022 Standard Eurobarometer survey shows increased trust of citizens in the EU, and continued strong support for the EU’s response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. An overwhelming majority of EU citizens support investments in renewable energy and action to reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian energy sources. The approval rate of the euro has reached its highest level ever.
However, Europeans are increasingly concerned about the economic situation in the EU and their own country.
General perception of the EU
The Eurobarometer, conducted in June-July 2022, shows that 65% of Europeans are optimistic about the future of the EU, a three-point increase compared with a similar survey conducted in January-February this year, before Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The positive image of the EU is now at 47% (+3 pp), its highest level since autumn 2009, while 36% of respondents have neutral views and 16% have negative views about the EU. In addition, 49% of Europeans tend to trust the EU (+2 pp) and 34% tend to trust their national government.
The response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
In line with the previous surveys, citizens confirm their strong support for the EU’s response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. When it comes to EU actions, humanitarian support is the most approved (92%) followed by welcoming in the EU Ukrainians fleeing the war (90%). 78% of Europeans support economic sanctions imposed by the EU on the Russian government, companies and individuals. Almost seven in ten interviewees (68%) are in favour of financing of supply and delivery of military equipment to Ukraine. The absolute majority of respondents are satisfied with the response of both the EU (57%) and their national government (55%).
Energy and energy security
An overwhelming majority of EU citizens agree that the EU should invest in renewable energies (87%), reduce its dependency on Russian sources of energy (86%) and that gas storage in EU countries should be filled up rapidly to allow uninterrupted gas supply during winter (86%). In addition, 85% believe that increasing energy efficiency will make us less dependent on energy producers outside the EU, while 83% are in favour of EU Member States jointly buying energy from other countries to get a better price. 78% of respondents say that they have recently taken action to reduce their energy consumption or that they plan to do so shortly.
The economy and the euro
Positive perception of the situation of the European economy has decreased by 5 percentage points since early 2022 and is now at 40%. The majority of respondents (51%, +6 pp) think that the situation of the European economy is currently bad. In addition, positive perception of the situation of the national economy has also decreased by 5 percentage points, to 34% with 64% finding the situation of their national economy as bad (+5 pp). The majority of respondents expect the situation of the national economy to worsen in the next 12 months (53%, +22 pp).
Meanwhile, support for the euro is rising, reaching its highest level ever: eight out of 10 respondents in the euro area (+ 3 pp) and 72% in the EU (+3 pp) are in favour of a European economic and monetary union with one single currency, the euro.
More than half of Europeans (56%) think that the EU’s largest economic stimulus package – NextGenerationEU – can be effective to respond to the current economic challenges.
Main concerns of Europeans at the EU and national level
The main concerns of Europeans mirror the pessimistic perception of the economy.
Both at a national and EU level, inflation and energy supply experienced sharp increases and ranked first and second respectively. When asked about the most important issues facing the EU at the moment, above one-third of respondents mention ‘rising prices/inflation/cost of living (34%, +10 pp since February and now in the first place) and ‘energy supply’ (28%, +12 pp and now in second place from seventh previously) along with ‘the international situation’ (also 28%).
Rising prices/inflation/cost of living is also one of the main concerns at the national level for more than half (54%, +13 pp), followed by energy supply (22%, +11 pp) and the economic situation (20%, +1 pp). This is not surprising since more than six in ten respondents (62%) say that the war in Ukraine has had serious consequences on their finances.
Citizens remain positive about the national and EU response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than half of the respondents are satisfied with the measures taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic by their government and by the EU (both 56%). Satisfaction with the response, both at the EU and national level, has also increased in 23 Member States. Trust in the EU to take the right decisions in the future in response to the coronavirus pandemic has also increased and is now the view of over six in ten (63%, +3 pp).
The “Summer 2022 – Standard Eurobarometer” (EB 97) was conducted through face-to-face and online interviews between 17 June and 17 July 2022. 26,468 EU citizens have been interviewed across the 27 Member States. Information about Eurobarometer and all surveys is available on the website.