Poland continues to rank near the top of the EU nations whose citizens are big supporters of the EU.
Seventy-one percent of Poles see EU membership as a plus and 62 percent say they trust the EU’s institutions and leadership, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey. It was conducted among citzens of all EU countries between September and November 2007.
Only four countries’ citizens show more support for the EU ? Luxemburg, with 82 percent; the Netherlands, with 79 percent; Belgium, with 74 percent; and Ireland, with 74 percent.
The lowest backing was Britain’s 34 percent. The average level of support for the 27 countries in the EU was 58 percent.
Although Poles’ level of trust in the EU remains high, it dropped six percentage points from the 68 percent recorded in early 2007 to the 62 percent seen in the September-November survey. It is still almost double the 33 percent of Poles who said they trusted the EU in 2004, the year Poland joined.
Twenty-one percent of Poles in the latest survey said they don’t trust the EU and 11 percent were undecided.
Poles’ trust in the EU is much higher than it is in their own governmental institutions. Last autumn only 10 percent said they trust their parliament ? a record-low among EU countries.
The coalition government of then-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski didn’t fare much better. Only 17 percent of Poles said they trusted Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party-led government, which ended up taking a trouncing in elections in late October.
Poles also are the EU’s biggest backers of the notion that the EU should continue to be enlarged, with 76 percent voicing support. The average EU score was only 46 percent.
Austrians showed the lowest support, 24 percent. Germans were close behind, giving the idea of enlargement only 28 percent support.
Poles are becoming more skeptical about making the euro their national currency, however. Only 49 percent support the idea, compared with 54 percent in early 2007.
EU citizens’ backing as a whole is 61 percent.
The fact that unemployment in Poland has fallen substantially in the last two years has led to Poles listing health care, and not joblessness, as their Number 1 concern.
Seventy-four percent listed unemployment as their biggest concern in 2004, 71 percent in 2005 and 68 percent in the fall of 2006. Last fall only 32 percent of Poles listed joblessness as their main concern, however.
Health care has become the top concern, with half of the Poles surveyed in the fall of 2007 listing it as their biggest worry.
The percentage of Poles who say they are satisfied with their lives remains slightly below the EU average. Seventy-six percent of Poles say they are satisfied, compared with 80 percent EU-wide. The Polish figure is just one percentage point lower than in early 2007.
Scandinavians are the happiest EU citizens, with 98 percent of Danes, 96 percent of Swedes and 95 percent of Finns saying they are satisfied with their lives. Norwegians are not in the EU.
The lowest satisfaction scores come from new members of the EU. Only 38 percent of Bulgarians are happy, followed by Romanians at 49 percent, Hungarians at 52 percent and Portuguese at 55 percent.