The future of Europe
As 2022 – designated the European Year of Youth – begins, today’s survey sheds light on the views of young Europeans on the challenges facing the European Union, as well as the key role young people in the Conference on the future of Europe.
Today’s Eurobarometer shows that 91% of 15-24 year olds think tackling climate change can help improve their own health and well-being, while 84% of people aged 55 or over agree. Almost one in two Europeans (49%) sees climate change as main global challenge for the future of the EUwith overwhelming support for the environmental goals of the European Green Deal: 88% of Europeans think it is important to increase the share of renewable energies in our economy and to have greater energy efficiency, while 80% agree on the importance of making Europe the the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and to foster the growth of the market for zero and low emission vehicles.
Other future global challenges highlighted by respondents include health (34%) and forced migration and displacement (mentioned by around 30%).
Having comparable standards of living (31%) and a common health policy (22%) are the two most useful aspects for the future of Europe. Europeans also favor the strengthening of solidarity between Member States (21%) and energy independence (20%).
Strengths, challenges and values of the EU
The four most mentioned challenges facing the EU itself are social inequalities (36%), unemployment (32%), followed by migration issues (31%). As with global challenges, environmental issues and climate change are also high on the list of challenges facing the EU, mentioned by 32% of respondents.
Europeans see the EU’s respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law (27%) as the EU’s main strength, followed by its economic, industrial and commercial power (25% ).
Peace (49%), freedom of opinion (47%), social equality and solidarity (45%), tolerance and openness to others (44%) are the values best embodied by the EU – in comparison with other countries, according to respondents.
Life in the European Union
A large majority of Europeans agree that they are happy to live in the EU (81%) and in their country (89%), while being satisfied with their family life (89%).
The conference on the future of Europe
Some 43% of Europeans say the main benefit of involving the younger generation in the Conference is to focus on the issues that matter to them. Other benefits of their key role in the Conference are the energy and motivation for reform and change they bring (cited by 35%) and their aim to make the future of Europe more relevant to challenges of today’s society (33%).
European citizens remain always interested in contributing and participating in the conference on the future of Europe. If responding to a survey is the preferred way to do so, as indicated by more than half of Europeans (59%), nearly one in two Europeans (46%) could imagine taking part in meetings in their region. Participating in online consultations (40%), proposing ideas and proposals to European and national politicians (39%) and participating in European cultural and sporting events linked to the Conference (39%) are the other most incentives for citizen engagement. .
Overall, Europeans see climate change and the environment (44%), health (40%), as well as a stronger economy, social justice and jobs (40%) as key issues for the Conference.
It is clearly expected that the Conference will lead to tangible results. Indeed, respondents would be more encouraged to participate in the activities of the Conference if they were convinced that their participation would have a real impact (53%).
The voice of citizens in the EU
90% of Europeans agree that the voice of EU citizens should be given more weight in decisions about the future of Europe. 55% of Europeans cite voting in European elections as one of the most effective ways of making their voices heard by decision-makers at EU level.
Alongside the ongoing work of European Citizens’ Panels adopting recommendations at the Future of Europe Conference, today’s Special Eurobarometer 517 “Future of Europe” survey provides insight into views and attitudes of Europeans towards the conference on the future of Europe, and the main challenges facing our Union.
Jointly commissioned by the European Parliament and the Commission, the survey was carried out between 16 September and 17 October 2021 (wave EB 96.1) in the 27 EU Member States. The survey was conducted face-to-face and supplemented by online interviews where necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 26,530 interviews were conducted in total.
All Europeans can share their ideas on how to shape our common future on the Conference on the Future of Europe’s multilingual digital platform.
Today’s Special Eurobarometer is available on a new dedicated Eurobarometer website providing access to Eurobarometer surveys and data published by both institutions since 1974.