Estonian residents want greater role for EU in combating virus

  • 2020-11-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – According to an opinion poll taken for the European Parliament, 73 percent of Estonian residents find that the European Union must have greater competences for combating the pandemic.

The findings of the poll published on Friday indicate that most EU citizens are in favor of increasing the budget of the EU for the sake of overcoming the pandemic. Respondents place the most importance in public health, recovery of the economy, and climate change. 

As regards the priorities of the EU in spending, 54 percent of respondents named public health, 42 percent recovery of the economy and new opportunities for business, and 37 percent climate change and environmental protection. Employment and social issues were in fourth place with 35 percent.

Where residents in Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic put recovery of the economy first, respondents in Austria, Denmark and Germany gave priority to combating climate change. The highest scores in Croatia, Slovakia and Finland were given to employment and social issues.

More than three quarters, or 77 percent of respondents find that the EU should allocate money only when the government of the country to be aided observes the principles of rule of law and  democracy. At least seven in 10 respondents agreed with this in 26 of the EU member states.

Compared with a similar public opinion survey conducted at the time of the first pandemic in April and May, citizens' attitudes towards the EU are clearly on an upward trend.

The image of the EU is seen as positive by 41 percent of respondents in the latest survey, including by 45 percent in Estonia. At the same time, respondents are not satisfied with solidarity between the member states.

Those satisfied with the steps of their own government in containing the crisis made up 49 percent of respondents overall and 62 percent in Estonia.

Most EU citizens fear a direct impact from the COVID-19 crisis on their personal financial situation. Of all respondents 39 percent, and 42 percent in Estonia, said that the crisis has already affected their incomes, while 27 percent, and 31 percent in Estonia, feared a reduction in incomes in the near future. Only a quarter believed that the crisis will not affect their income. 

The most vulnerable are young people and families with children, with 64 percent of respondents in the age group 16-34 admitting that they have experienced financial difficulties, while 27 percent of families with children have had to tap into their savings.