Barely one quarter of Europeans feel to be well informed about European Parliament's activities

According to the results of the latest EU-wide opinion poll of the European Parliament, Europeans’ views of the activity of the institution remain stable. Although the figures of this survey which looks at how much EU citizens know about the institution and their opinions about its works and priorities, are broadly stable compared with previous surveys, the poll also shows substantial variation between the different Member States.

According to this survey on citizens' awareness about European Parliament activities, the results showed that that 59% of surveyed people had read or heard about the Parliament in the media. However, only 28% feel themselves to be well informed about Parliament’s activities. These figures, as most of the different aspects of the poll show, nevertheless, major differences between Member States, as there are 36 percentage points variation from highest to lowest.

Asked about the values the European Parliament should defend, the survey puts protection of human rights at the top, with gender equality and freedom of speech in joint second place. More people than in the past gave priority to “solidarity between Member States”, which is in fourth place.  A recent survey on policy priorities, which was conducted separately, put “tackling poverty and social exclusion” top, followed by consumer protection.

There are, however, some disparities in answers depending on the different social groups taking part in the poll. In terms of gender and age, more men than women say they are aware of European Parliament matters, while the best informed age group, by their own assessment, is 40-54. According to the survey, youngest age group feels itself least well informed. Furthermore, people from the more affluent social classes have a better knowledge of Parliament than others.

Compared to previous surveys, more people answered correctly that MEPs sit in political groups rather than by nationality. There were contrasting views on Parliament’s image with more of those expressing an opinion saying the institution is “democratic” and “efficient” than not, but fewer describing it as “dynamic” or “listening to citizens”.  Some 52 per cent overall favoured an increased role for the European Parliament.  There was wide variation between EU countries on these measures and responses overall were more polarised than in the past.