European Union residents voiced doubts about membership of the bloc as Brussels prepares for what is predicted to be a revolutionary European Parliament poll. A Eurobarometer survey of surveys analysing changes in support of the European project in all 28 member states released in March predicted an increase support for populist parties at the European parliamentary election. The populist surge prediction appeared to be supported by the concerns voters from Germany, Italy and Poland expressed talking to German broadcaster DW.
One man complained about the lack of sovereignty in Germany, claiming “rules are decided over our heads and just imposed on us.” Another voter, asked whether Berlin should follow in the footsteps of Brexit Britain, said: “Absolutely, and we should go back to the Deutschmark.”
A woman simply explained: “People are fed up with the EU.”
The Eurobarometer survey of surveys, which polled 27,973 European citizens between February 19 and March 4, reviewed the trend of support for the bloc across the European Union made predictions on the likelihood of election of populist parties based on a series of 12 questions – varying from opinions on overall membership of the EU to themes the bloc should focus on.
Based on the responses received, the European Commission public opinion polling service predicted an increase in support for populist parties, with a large number of Italian and Greek citizens polled suggesting their country has not benefited from membership of the bloc (45 percent and 40 percent respectively.)
Anxiety among European Union officials is high, with fears of a Eurosceptic, nationalist surge. The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker claimed that the European Union has lost its “libido”.
Mr Juncker acknowledged the expected gains for populist and Eurosceptic parties in Europe-wide elections.
The Eurobarometer survey adds to growing resentment within the European Union from certain groups and individuals who spoke to German broadcaster DW.
Among the most common complaints in Germany is the suggestion Angela Merkel has agreed to support struggling EU member states with extra money. During the Greek economic crisis, Germany became the largest creditor of three bailouts totalling £259bn.
A German voter insisted “we are paying for countries that aren’t giving anything themselves. Just taking,” with another echoing the sentiment: “Germany is financially robust and has good economic growth rate but there are other countries that don’t and they benefit from us.”
And in Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has been embroiled in a battle of will with Brussels, reporter Aleksandra Rybinska warned Brussels Warsaw will not be at the “beck and call” of the bloc as she questioned the need for a European political union.
Ms Rybinska, a contributor to the web publication wPolityce which is closely aligned with PiS, speaking to DW, said: “I’d say the European Commission is meddling mainly in terms of the legal proceedings.
“For most people, the European Commission used to be a weird club making sure bananas weren’t crooked and issuing idiotic directives that no one needed.”
The reporter continued: “The newer member states feel like they are treated differently than other countries and Poland is a big country. We’re not going to be at the beck and call of Germany and France.
“We need the EU first and foremost as a market and as an economic power. The question is, do we need a political EU?”
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