Support for EU plummets in Italy - survey

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16:07 CEST+02:00
Support for the European Union is on the rise across some of the continent’s major economies apart from Italy, a study by the Pew Research Centre has revealed.

As voters head to the European elections, which get under way on May 22nd, the survey found that there has been a 12 percent decline in support for the EU among Italians since 2013.

The survey was conducted in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Favourable sentiment towards the economic bloc has been on the decline in Italy in since 2012, falling from 59 percent that year to 46 percent in the recent survey.

Meanwhile, after a dramatic drop in the wake of the euro crisis, EU favourability has rebounded in the UK, Poland, Germany, France, Greece and Spain.

The belief that European integration strengthens a national economy is also on the rise among these countries, driven by a 15-point rise in the UK and a 12-point rise in Poland.

EU support, however, has yet to return to pre-crisis levels with “Italians increasingly critical of the institution”.

Eighty-one percent of Italians questioned felt their voices aren’t heard in Brussels, although this sense of powerlessness is felt across the other six countries surveyed, with an average 65 percent saying the EU does not understand the needs of citizens.

And as Europeans head to the polls, an average of just 36 percent has a favourable few of the European Parliament, something the report said could be driven by continued dissatisfaction with their national economy. Just three percent of Italians felt their economy was faring well, compared to 85 percent in Germany saying their economy is performing fine.

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Eighty percent of Italians would also like immigration to be limited, the second highest only to Greece among the countries surveyed. An average 52 percent in the states covered said immigrants are a burden because they take jobs and benefits.

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