Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blind Love of the EU

I've recently glimpsed the data of the research, conducted by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers back in 2007, which in a broad extent reveals an attitude of the people of South Caucasus countries towards the EU. Expectedly majority of the population in all three countries are keen on further integration with the European Union and despite the fact that research was carried out 3 years ago, I doubt any significant changes have occurred in the meantime.
Should  country cooperate  with the EU? (%) 2007 
You may ask what is so special in this report. Quite normal that people support tighter cooperation/integration with the organisation which has been deemed as a relative success at least before the ongoing financial crisis. Hence the result summed in all three countries is 78%. In the data, the figures are given separately for economic and political integration, but I won’t distinct it as the difference teeters between 1-2 percents. In any case, the number is indeed very high. Some of the recently joined countries had much less figures when it comes to popular support. In the survey which has been published in 2008 by the EUROBAROMETER, overall figure in the member and membership aspiring countries slightly exceeds 50 percent. More than half of Europeans consider that their country’s membership of the European Union is a good thing (52%), while three out of ten (29%) think that it is neither good nor bad and 14% think that it is a bad thing. Comparing to this data, people of South Caucasus have rather positive attitude towards the EU. But this data gets meaningless with the next figure, which shows that for instance 48% of people in Armenia think that their country is already a member of the European Union.

Is your country a member
of the European Union? 2009
On comparatively the similar question, EUROBAROMETER gives us vague numbers, taking into account the age, sex, social status etc. of respondents which of course differ from this particular data revealed by the CRRC. However the figures are still very low. Not only in the South Caucasus, but even within the European Union people lack knowledge and information about the EU. We can certainly blame the knotty structure of the EU or the indifference of citizens, but in any case it is EU’s ineffectiveness to be blamed on the first place.
 EU’s supranationalism has already far prevailed national governments with a significant degree, but people tend to be more informed on their domestic issues, which has a logical consequence on EP elections afterwards. As an outcome, the EU should probably address the issue on country to country bases, as the situation differs in every member/membership aspiring countries. More formal and non formal educational programmes and maybe less funds on Erasmus type projects, which is clearly ineffective for various reasons. As for the Neighbourhood countries, I presume European Neighbourhood Policy gravely lacks efficiency in this particular aspect. Thanks to the EYP I have examined this issue even further and what I assume is that the rift in awareness of the EU matters between the youngsters from the EU 27 and peers from candidate/neighbourhood countries is huge.

You can find the full data of the research on CRRC website


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