07 May 2024, 13:29
Benjamin Wehrmann

Majority of Europeans want EU to play a leading role in global climate action – survey

Clean Energy Wire

A majority of EU citizens want the union to play a leading role in global efforts to counter climate change, a survey ahead of the European elections by More in Common has found. With 51 percent, just over half of respondents said that the EU should lead on climate action even if other global powers are not putting in the same efforts – while 33 percent said the opposite. A majority in many countries also said that EU leadership on climate action would make them proud of their home region, with 51 percent agreeing with the statement in Poland, 52 percent in Germany, 60 percent in France and 72 percent in Spain, More in Common, an initiative that researches social cohesion, found. Beyond climate action, a large majority in Germany and other countries also said that the EU must live up to its role as a “global player” that can keep up with powers like the US or China.

However, the survey also found a high degree of skepticism regarding the EU among its citizens. In Germany, only a quarter of respondents said that the bloc’s administration understands ordinary citizens' lives, much less than in Spain (34%) or Poland (45%). However, only 24 percent of Germans were against EU membership, while 53 percent said it is a good thing to have. “People in general don’t reject the EU but regard it as a necessity – especially in uncertain times shaped by crises,” said Sarah Wohlfeld, EU expert at More in Common. “At the same time, there is no enthusiasm for Europe. People see clear deficits in the EU and wish for an institution that works more smoothly and takes care of their problems,” she added.

In Germany, the most important topics ahead of the election on 9 June are migration and refugees (32%), followed by affordable housing (27%), and reducing inflation of energy and living costs (26%). A strong majority of Germans of 60 percent also said that the EU has a negative impact when it comes to energy prices. Most people in the country also said that “common sense” and “affordability” should be guiding principles for climate policies. More ambition in climate action and the energy transition have played a much smaller role in German parties’ election campaigns for the EU elections than in the national election in 2021 or the previous EU election in 2019. Instead, economic recovery, safeguarding prosperity, and security have become dominant talking points in the run-up to the election that could see a surge in far-right parties and a Europe-wide beating for members of the EU Green Party group.

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