The Conclusions of the latest Eurobarometer recently presented by the European Commission
Romanians are optimistic about the future of the European Union. 74% are satisfied with the present situation in the EU, 12% on the rise as compared to 2013, shows a public opinion Eurobarometer conducted in the autumn of 2014 and recently presented by the European Commission. Most of the Romanians believe the economic situation in the EU will improve this year, but only 35% of them expect an economic improvement in their own country.
At the same time the Romanians are familiarized with European institutions and supportive of the European Commission’s priorities. 72% of them are backing the EU enlargement policy as compared to the European average of 39%, being at the top of the table. The EU enjoys a positive image in Romania as expressed by 59% of the interviewees, in this respect ranking second only to Poland. Here is Angela Filote, head of the European Commission Representation in Romania with more on the issue.
Angela Filote: “The Euro-optimism of the Romanians as compared to other EU citizens has again been confirmed. Of course the fact the Romanians trust the EU and its future and the union’s positive image in Romania makes us very happy. At the same time this is a burden of responsibility for us, as we’d like not to let them down. It remains to be proved whether this trust is based on realistic or less realistic expectations about what the EU can do in order to improve the lives of the Romanians.”
According to the aforementioned poll, 53% of the Romanians appreciate the freedom of movement inside the EU, 29% of the respondents referred to the values of democracy, while 25% appreciate the single currency.
The most significant EU achievement for 39% of the Romanians is the free movement of workers, goods and services within he Union. More than a half of the interviewees are satisfied with how democracy functions in the EU. At the domestic level however only a quarter of them has shown satisfaction. 77% of the Romanian citizens believe the EU fosters the right conditions for jobs in Europe and for the business environment.
Most of the interviewees share a negative opinion about the labour market in Romania only 34% of them believe the country is heading in the right direction. However, in comparison to the previous Eurobarometer, sociologists have highlighted a tendency of improving the social climate, the Romanians being more optimistic and pleased with their standard of living. A possible explanation for this optimism was the period in which the poll was conducted, November 2014, between the two presidential election rounds, which significantly influenced the Romanians’ optimism. Sociologist Dumitru Sandu believes that another possible explanation is the liberalization of the EU’s labour market for the Romanian workers beginning January 1st 2014. In less than a half a year, the number of those who believe that things go in a wrong direction has dropped from 61% to 43%.
Dumitru Sandu: “The year 2014 has completely taken me aback…The Romanians who believe their lives will improve in a year’s time accounted to 32% of the total interviewed in spring, while in November their number stood at 40%. Social life doesn’t take leaps though. An 8% leap in less than six months is big. Another big difference was noticed regarding the question whether things were moving in the right direction: 20% in spring and 34% in autumn, a huge 14% increase in only six months. This is a positive change from many points of view, but where does it come from? There is this idea that people are more prone to giving gifts in election years…And data for the Eurobarometer was gleaned right between the first and the second rounds of the presidential election in November. People’s hope in the outcome of those election was reflected in the latest opinion poll.”
The Eurobarometer shows that 88% of the respondents believe that Romania is in need of reforms to face future challenges, an opinion also shared by most of the Europeans – the European average standing at 87% in this issue. Also worth noting is the support the anti-graft campaign enjoys in Romania, a fact also explained through the trust the Romanians have in their new president.
Dumitru Sandu: “Between the autumn of 2010 and the same period of 2014, the Romanians’ trust in justice rose from 23% to 46%, which is also a huge leap! This means that everything we see on TV is not only mere television shows, but has a deep impact ramping up support. Trust also translates into support from people.”
At domestic level the Romanians are concerned with inflation, unemployment, the country’s medical system and continue to show a low trust in state institutions.
Dumitru Sandu: “Romania’s population is extremely sensitive to institutional changes, to pledges regarding these changes. People react to measures aimed at streamlining these institutions, but the causes of these reactions have also changed. Romanians are no longer fearing the future, or unemployment, the lack of income or other shortages…The Romanians are increasingly concerned with administration, healthcare and education in their country. Workers will no longer come back from abroad unless you provide similar salaries with what they get in Spain, Italy, Germany and France. They also want institutions and services to function properly, like in those countries…So the institutional component becomes crucial.”
Sociologists have called into attention the fact that the poll was done only a week after the new European Commission had taken office with Jean Claude Juncker at the helm. Autumn economic forecasts also revealed slight economic growths in all 28 member countries and a dropping unemployment rate against 2013.
1016 people have been interviewed for this poll with an error margin of 3%.