17 Jan 2024, 13:33
Julian Wettengel

Ahead of EU vote, French and Danish citizens see climate as most transformative crisis of last decade – survey

Clean Energy Wire

For people in France, Denmark and Switzerland, climate change is the most important of five major crises which Europeans say have changed the way they look at the future, a survey analysis by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) shows. For the survey, the ECFR identified five major crises Europe experienced in the past 15 years: the climate crisis, the financial crisis, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war. The researchers say that the “competing existential traumas that run through and between different member states” mean that the 2024 EU election in June could become “a competition between rival fears of rising temperatures, immigration, inflation, and military conflicts.” Of these five issues, climate and migration are the most mobilising ones in this year’s election, they say, pointing to the recent election result in the Netherlands, which put an anti-immigrant party at the top of the poll and the pro-climate left-wing alliance in second place. While climate has traditionally been a liberal EU topic, it is now “being ‘renationalised’, as a backlash becomes a powerful rallying cry for the anti-establishment right.”

Voters in the EU will head to the polls in June 2024 to elect the next European Parliament, kicking off a months-long process to pick the bloc’s new leadership that will shape climate policy until the end of the decade. ECFR surveyed about 15,000 people in 11 European countries in September and October 2023. Germany is the only country where the largest number of people select immigration as the issue that most concerns them. Citizens in Italy and Portugal point to the economic turmoil of the last decade and a half. In Spain, Great Britain, and Romania, people view the COVID-19 pandemic as the issue that has affected them most. Estonians, Poles, and Danes consider the war in Ukraine to be the most transformative of crises. Young people pick the climate crisis over other crises, with 24 percent of 18-29-year-olds particularly concerned. In Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland, young people tend to prioritise climate issues above all else. Overall, 60 percent of respondents said that their government has so far done a bad job in handling the climate crisis, while 55 percent said the European Union has done a bad job.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee