More EU expertise is needed for managing the crisis.

IK – 06/2021

Europeans’ overall view with regard to the measures implemented by the EU for combating the coronavirus pandemic is ambivalent. Only about half of the Europe’s residents are satisfied with the action plan adopted by the EU. Nevertheless three-quarters of Europeans place a great deal of hope in European governance: they want the EU to be given more powers so that it will be better able to deal with crises like the COVID-19 pandemic in the future. This is according to the spring Eurobarometer survey that was published at the beginning of June 2021. In a survey initiated by the European Parliament, nearly 27,000 respondents from the 27 EU member states were surveyed between March 16 and April 12, 2021.

Dissatisfaction with the measures

Only 48% of Europeans (almost one in two) are satisfied with the measures implemented by the EU for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. 5% are very satisfied. In Germany, the people were even more critical of the measures taken by the EU than those from other member states: only 35% of Germans (i.e. one in three) were positive about the measures taken by the EU for combating the pandemic. Criticism focused on the procuring of coronavirus vaccines for all 27 member states as well as coordinating the pan-EU defence against the pandemic.

In order to overcome the current crisis, the respondents believed that the EU should give priority to the vaccination programme, invest in medical research and work out a strategy for dealing with future crises. The fourth priority involved developing a European healthcare policy, followed by the EU's role in the global response for ensuring universal access to vaccines or treatment.

Transparent information policy

A positive outcome of the survey was that people in Europe seemed aware of the European government's efforts for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight out of ten respondents know what the EU is doing to combat the consequences of the pandemic. Almost half (48% EU-wide, 63% in Germany) also had more detailed information about the measures involved.

More responsibility will be needed in the future

The result of the current Eurobarometer survey is also clear regarding the EU's future handling of crises: three out of four respondents believed that the EU should have greater authority when dealing with global challenges. 74% of Europeans (65% in Germany) either "agree" or "strongly agree" that the EU should be given more power to manage crises at EU level, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fear of material and personal losses

The latest survey also showed that support for the EU remains high despite the pandemic even though EU citizens are very concerned about the personal impact and financial losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, almost one in three (31%) had already experienced negative effects caused by the pandemic on their personal financial situation (24% in Germany). A further 26% of respondents (19% of Germans) expected this to happen.