Wednesday, September 1, 2010

EU as a Scapegoat

Since the first signs of crisis emerged in 2008, public opinion inside the European Union started to shift steadily, and the last report which has been recently revealed by EUROBAROMETER shows that people tend to become more and more ungrateful towards the benefits of the EU membership of their countries. 

"The latest results show that support for EU membership has fallen to 49% (-4 points since autumn 2009), which is close to the lowest levels recorded in the last decade. The proportion of Europeans who consider their country’s membership a bad thing now stands at 18% up from 15% in autumn 2009." It’s ironic, but despite the 750 billions of bailout, the most significant decline occurred in Greece (-17%) and apparently Icelanders are also reluctant to accede to the European Union (only 19 percent of respondents think that EU membership will be a good thing).

But what does this data imply to? Not much! As even if public support declines to its roughly the lowest level, it cannot have much influence on the EU functioning as such. Basically only time when public opinion really matters is the EP election and even that time, we experience ignorance or maybe distrust to the only elected EU institution. Then why should we draw attention to the 6% decline? First of all it already dropped bellow middle line and in a long run we might experience more profound changes if the crisis persists. But thing is not merely the EP elections and explicitly growing anti-EU approach among the EU citizens might end up in pushing governments to more nationalistic policies, which is going to have catastrophic consequences to the overall stance of the European Union.

As time passes by, people fail to remember the pre EU Europe and majority of the EU citizens do not indeed remember the post World War Europe. They’ve got Welfare System granted as well as many other pros, which has become everyday life for each and every EU citizen. Unlike national governments, when people can easily re-elect, in EU’s case circumstances are different and it’s always the EU ends up being a scapegoat. It’s always the EU to blame when something goes wrong and it is always national government to praise if something works out.

"I admit that we should do more together in order to give confidence to citizens and consumers. But I also want to tell the truth: We won't solve the problems unless each nation sees the European project as its own," – said Barroso and he is certainly right. If the EU is merely deemed as a benefit like late Polish president once put quite bluntly, it will never manage to compete with the USA or emerging powers. 

For the full data follow the link.


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