Confidence in the European Union has increased over the past year although a significant number of citizens expressed a desire for reform.
Two-thirds of EU citizens said they were optimistic about the future of the EU, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to June 2019, according to a survey commissioned by the European Parliament.
That figure varied among countries, but more than half of respondents in each member state expressed optimism, ranging from 89 percent in Ireland to 52 percent in France.
While just 39 percent said things were going in the right direction in the EU, from 77 percent in Ireland to 23 percent in France, that represents a 7-point increase since October 2019.
The survey also found a widespread desire for reform, however.
Just over a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said they were in favor of the EU as it is, while 44 percent expressed support for the EU â€œbut not in the way it has been realized until now.â€ About a fifth (22 percent) expressed skepticism about the EU but said they could change their opinion if â€œradical reformâ€ was brought in. Only 5 percent said they were entirely opposed to the idea of the EU.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority â€”Â 72 percent â€”Â believe that the EUâ€™s post-pandemic recovery plan will help their country recover more quickly from the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
That figure was highest in Ireland and Malta, at more than 90 percent, and lowest in France and Finland with 62 percent in each. Nevertheless, citizensâ€™ economic outlook for this year was pessimistic, with more than half (53 percent) thinking the situation will be worse by the end of 2021.
The survey polled between 500 and 1,600 people in each EU country. Polling took place in November and December 2020, meaning the results do not take into account the EUâ€™s performance in vaccine procurement or recent troubles such as the Ireland border row.