More Europeans than ever feel that they are citizens of the European Union based on a long-term research project monitoring Europe’s views on integration. A solid 68 per cent of the continent’s population told the regular Eurobarometer poll that they “feel they are a citizen of the EU”. This trend comes on top of a major increase in optimism for the future of the bloc and a sharp fall in people who think that the European economy is getting worse over the next 12 months compared to 2016.
Moreover, about 56 percent of the respondents said that they were confident about the future of the EU in general – an increase by six points compared to the previous survey. About a fifth of the respondents think that the bloc’s economy will get worse (down from 28 percent last year) while 21 percent think it will get better. About 45 percent believe that it will stay the same. The Commission started asking about EU citizenship and identity in 2010 when 62 percent of people said they were feeling like EU citizens.
There was a sharp rise in positivity and optimism in France following the election of new president Emmanuel Macron and Portugal, whose government has ended its austerity measures and kick-started growth with an investment program. The latest results stand in a stark contrast to the narrative of the anti-EU and far-right parties who say that the Brexit would cause a domino effect of other countries wanting to say goodbye to the EU membership.