Public opinion has a significant impact on the European integration process. Political decision-makers can hardly take measures to promote integration if the population does not agree with them. Petersen’s article shows how public opinion on the EU has developed over the past year.
Some results are surprising: The Polish population is – in contrast to the rhetoric of their government – very EU-friendly. In other countries, such as Germany, the EU's reputation has suffered as a result of the way the Covid 19-pandemic was handled. However, the basic attitude towards the EU remains positive in most countries. The example of Greece clearly shows how the current economic situation influences people’s opinion about the EU. When the economy is booming, support for the EU also increases. Against this background, even in 'frugal' countries such as Sweden or the Netherlands, large majorities are in favour of the EU's economic measures in the fight against the pandemic.
"The EU’s support measures are psychologically important because they give citizens, especially in poorer member states, the impression that the member states are sticking together in solidarity without too much resentment among the richer 'frugal' countries", writes Petersen.
The article is available until 31. January 2022 as a sneak peek of the new Yearbook of European Integration 2021. Enjoy reading!