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Hungariansʼ trust in EU reflects overall mood across union

Hungariansʼ trust in the European Union is on the rise, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey conducted by the European Commission (EC) in June. In the EU as a whole, the EC observes that the best results in five years suggest that Europeans in general are upbeat about the state of the EU.

The European Parliament complex in Brussels (photo by artjazz/Shutterstock.com)

The ECʼs latest Eurobarometer shows that 55% of Hungarians tend to trust the European Union, up 7 percentage points from the previous survey conducted half a year earlier. Hungariansʼ rate of trust in the EU is well over the 44% rate for all EU citizens.

At the same time, the survey reveals that 40% of Hungarians tend not to trust the EU, down 8 percentage points from the previous survey. This compares to around 46% of EU citizens who say they tend not to trust the EU.

About 5% of Hungarians said they did not know when asked if they tend to trust or not to trust the EU, compared to 10% across the EU.

Positive perceptions up across union

A press release from the EC observes that the new Eurobarometer survey shows a strong increase in citizensʼ positive perception of the EU across the board – from the economy to the state of democracy. It describes the results as the best since the June 2014 Eurobarometer survey conducted before the Juncker Commission took office.

The latest survey was conducted after the European elections, between June 7 and July 1, in all 28 EU countries and five candidate countries. Among its main findings are record-high support for the euro and climate change turning into the second top concern at EU level, after immigration.

Trust in the EU has increased in 20 Member States, with the highest scores in Lithuania (72%), Denmark (68%), and Estonia (60%). Since the last survey in the fall of 2018, the proportion of respondents who have a positive image of the EU (45%) has increased in 23 Member States, most strikingly in Cyprus (47%, +11 percentage points), Hungary (52%, +9), Greece (33%, +8), Romania (60%, +8), and Portugal (60%, +7).

A majority of Europeans are optimistic about the future of the EU (61%, +3 percentage points), while only 34% (-3) are pessimistic, the survey shows. Optimism is highest in Ireland (85%), Denmark (79%), Lithuania (76%), and Poland (74%). At the other end of the scale, optimism is less pronounced in the United Kingdom (47%) and France (50%).

Some 55% of Europeans say they are satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU, the highest score since the fall of 2004 (+5 percentage points since fall 2018; +11 since spring 2014), while the number of those not satisfied has fallen by five percentage points, to 36%, the press release adds.

Big majority back free movement

A large majority of EU citizens support “the free movement of EU citizens who can live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU” (81%, -2 percentage points since fall 2018), and in every EU Member State more than two-thirds of respondents share this view, from Lithuania (94%), to Italy and the U.K. (both 68%).

Support for Economic and Monetary Union and for the euro has reached a new record high, with more than three-quarters of respondents (76%, +1 percentage point; +9 since spring 2014) in the euro area in favor of the single currency. In the EU as a whole, support for the euro is stable at 62%.

Immigration remains the main concern at EU level, with 34% of those surveyed mentioning it as such, despite a strong decrease (-6 percentage points since fall 2018). Climate change, which was ranked fifth in fall 2018, is now the second most important concern after a strong increase (+6 since fall 2018).

At the national level, in contrast, unemployment remains the main concern, together with rising prices/inflation/cost of living, and health and social security, according to the Eurobarometer. However, immigration has fallen out of the top three concerns at national level for the first time since spring 2014, the press release notes.