Eurobarometer reveals optimistic trends
TALLINN - Estonians have become happier with their lives and believe in economic benefits from their country's EU membership, the new Eurobarometer survey shows.
The report of the latest Eurobarometer survey, a more detailed, nation-focused version of the preliminary report released in December 2004, was made public on Feb.21. Estonians' trust continues to remain with the defense forces, the national radio and the television just like it was one year ago, said Marko Saaret from TNS Emor, the pollster that carried out the survey.
The share of people who trust the government is equal to those who do not, and stands at 47 percent.
Saaret noted, however, that trust in institutions that are in the limelight can change dramatically, almost overnight.
According to the survey, 75 percent of the respondents in Estonia do not trust political parties. About 70 percent of the respondents, 17 percent more than last year 's the biggest jump in the EU 's are satisfied with their life in Estonia. The result is among the lowest in the EU, just above Portugal and Slovakia (59 percent), Latvia (55 percent), Lithuania (54 percent) and Hungary (50 percent). The Scandinavian welfare models Denmark and Sweden boast 96 percent share of people satisfied with their lives.
Respondents from Estonia have become more optimistic regarding labor market issues. About 33 percent, or 12 percent above the new member states average, believe their employment and work situation will improve. Only Lithuania and Ireland were more optimistic, as 39 percent and 35 percent of respondents said they expect improvements in the near future.
The grimmest picture can be seen in Germany where 70 percent of the people believe the labor market situation will worsen.
The most worrying issues for Estonians were crime, unemployment, healthcare system problems and inflation. Issues such as terrorism and defense policy, rated as more important in other EU countries, were among the least significant in the Estonian ranking.
The majority, 56 percent of the Estonian respondents, agreed that their country's membership in the EU is a positive development, while 13 percent disagreed and the rest maintained neutral position. At the same time, a little over 70 percent of the respondents said that collapse of the European Union would leave them unaffected.