Immigration and terrorism are the main concerns of European citizens, according to the European Commission’s spring Eurobarometer, which also showed that overall optimism about the EU’s future has slightly increased since November 2017.
Of the EU’s 510 million citizens, 38% see immigration as the most important issue facing the bloc, with the highest concerns registered in the Member States with minimal immigration, including Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Terrorism was mentioned as a concern by 29% of EU citizens, with the highest numbers being registered in Lithuania, Cyprus, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, and Latvia.
The level of trust in the EU has inched up slightly with a 42% approval rate. That number is still below the 48% of citizens who tend to distrust Brussels. The number of EU citizens who believe that their vote counts currently sits at 45%.
Optimism for the post-Brexit EU has risen for the third time in a row after 58% of respondents saying the bloc has a brighter future ahead of it once the UK quits the bloc in March of 2019. When asked, 25 out of the 28 member states’ citizens also said that the EU’s economy is currently in good shape. Only Italy, France, and Spain, three of the Eurozone’s biggest economies. had more citizens’ who believe that the situation in the European economy is “bad”, according to the Eurobarometer.
Support for the Single Currency, the euro, remained unchanged at 74%, with the highest amount of enthusiasm in Estonia at 88 %, as well as in Ireland and Slovenia both at 84 %. Support for the euro in Italy, with a new Eurosceptic coalition government, hovered at 61 %.
Eight out of 10 respondents supported the freedom movement for EU citizens with the right to live, work, study, and do business anywhere in the EU, while three out of four suggest that a common defence and security policy for the EU is the way forward, with more than seven in 10 endorsing a common energy policy and a common EU trade policy.
Further enlargement, however, remains largely unpopular, with those in support of expanding the bloc making up only 44 % of the respondents.