The rising cost of living is the main concern of 93% of Europeans, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey by the European Parliament, published in full on 12 January 2023.
Meanwhile, support for the EU remains stable at a high level and citizens expect the EU to continue working on solutions to mitigate the effects of the crises. Across all EU member states, more than seven in ten respondents are concerned about the rising cost of living, with peaks in Greece (100%), Cyprus (99%), Italy and Portugal (both 98%). Rising prices, including for energy and food, are felt across all socio-demographic categories, such as gender or age, as well as across all educational and socio-professional backgrounds. The second most cited concern at 82% is the threat of poverty and social exclusion, followed by climate change and the spread of the war in Ukraine to other countries in third place at 81%.
(Source European Parliament – 2023)
The rising cost of living is currently the main concern for 93% of Europeans; poverty and social exclusion follow (82%). Both the possible spread of the war in Ukraine to other countries and the emergency situation in connection with climate change remain a major concern for 81% of EU citizens
Citizens expect the EU to continue working on solutions to mitigate the worsening effects of the successive crises that have hit the continent. The strong support for the EU is based on the experience of recent years, where the EU has shown a remarkable ability to unify and implement effective measures. At the moment, citizens are not satisfied with the measures taken at national or EU level. Only a third of Europeans are satisfied with the measures taken by their national governments or the EU to tackle the rising cost of living.
As for the economic situation of citizens, the survey shows that the effects of the polycrisis are becoming more and more noticeable. Almost half of the EU’s population (46%) say their living standards have already fallen due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the cost of living. A further 39% have not yet seen their standard of living decline but expect it to in the coming year. Another telling indicator of increasing financial constraints is the increase in the percentage of citizens who “usually” or “sometimes” have problems paying bills, an increase of nine points from 30% to 39% since autumn 2021.
(Photo Denis Lomme/ © European Union – 2022)
Roberta Metsola (1979), President of the European Parliament
“People are understandably concerned about the rising cost of living as more and more families struggle to make ends meet. Now is the time to bring our accounts under control, reduce inflation and grow our economies. We must protect the most vulnerable in our society‘– said Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament.
The many geopolitical crises of recent years continue to pose major challenges for citizens and politicians. Now that inflation has reached its highest level in decades, citizens want the European Parliament to focus on the fight against poverty and social exclusion (37%). Public health remains relevant to many citizens (34%) – and so do additional efforts against climate change (31%). Support for the economy and job creation (31%) is also high on the list.
At the same time, the recent crises and in particular Russia’s war against Ukraine are strengthening citizens’ support for the EU: 62% consider EU membership a “good thing”, one of the highest results since 2007. Two-thirds of European citizens (66%) think that their country’s EU membership is important, and 72% believe that their country has benefited from EU membership. In this context, “peace” is making a comeback in the minds of citizens as one of the most important and fundamental reasons for the Union: 36% of Europeans say that the EU’s contribution to maintaining peace and strengthening security are the most important benefits of EU membership , an increase of six points since autumn 2021. In addition, Europeans also believe that the EU facilitates better cooperation between member states (35%) and contributes to economic growth (30%).