Connect with us


Spring 2015 Standard Eurobarometer: Citizens see immigration as top challenge for EU to tackle



Europe-picMore Europeans say they have a positive image of the European Union and trust in the EU has gone up since last November. In addition, citizens see immigration as the major challenge facing the EU currently. These are some of the results of the latest Standard Eurobarometer survey published today. The survey was carried out between 16 and 27 May 2015 in 34 countries or territories.[1]

Immigration seen as major challenge facing EU

Asking citizens about their main concerns, immigration is now at the top of the most frequently cited topics at EU level. With 38% (+14 points) it is now way ahead of the economic situation (27%, -6 points), unemployment (24%, -5 points) and the Member States public finances (23%, -2 points). It is the number one most frequently cited concern in 20 member states reaching peaks in Malta (65%) and Germany (55%). Concern for terrorism at EU level has also increased significantly since November 2014 (17%, +6 points) (see Annex 1).

Support for European Commission’s political priorities

As in the previous survey of November 2014, there is a strong endorsement by citizens of the priority topics set by the European Commission under President Juncker (see Annex 2).

  • On investment within the EU, 59% of Europeans agree public money should be used to stimulate private sector investment at EU level.
  • On energy, 72% of Europeans are in favour of a common energy policy among EU Member States.
  • Most Europeans regard the single market (the free movement of people, goods and services within the EU) as the most positive achievement of the EU (57%), almost at par with peace among the member states (55%).
  • Regarding the issue of migration, 73% of Europeans say they are in favour of a common European policy on migration. Most Europeans (51%) are positive about migration of people from other EU Member States. However, 56% are negative about immigration of people from outside the EU.

Finally, citizens remain optimistic about the future of the EU. 58% (+2 points) of Europeans say they are optimistic while 36% (-1 point) say they are pessimistic.

Image of EU keeps improving

The number of Europeans who say they have a positive image of the EU has risen from 39% last November to 41% in May 2015, while 38% have a neutral image and only 19% a negative image (down from 22% in November and 25% in June 2014; see Annex 3).

Moreover, the number of Europeans who say they trust the European Union has also gone up to 40% (up by 3 percentage points since November 2014 and 9 percentage points since the 2014 European Parliament elections). The average level of trust in national governments has also risen slightly to 31% (+2 points) (see Annex 4).

The number of citizens who say that their voice counts in the EU has reached 42% (+2 points), sustaining the 10-year peak observed after the European elections in 2014.

Expectations for the economy are improving and support for the euro remains stable

On the economy, the expectations of Europeans for the national economic situation remain rather stable, with more than one in four of them (26%, +4 points) being optimistic about the next twelve months while 48% expect the situation to remain the same. Pessimistic expectations decrease sharply and reach 21% (-7 points). The number of Europeans who think that the impact of the crisis on jobs has already reached its peak (48%, +4 points) is now clearly more important than those who think "the worst is still to come" (42%, -4 points).

The positive stance on the euro remains stable (57% in the EU overall, 69% in the euro area). Support for the single currency has increased in 14 member states, most strikingly in Lithuania (73%, +10 points) which has joined the euro area on 1 January 2015 and in Greece, where 69% (+6 points) of Greeks say they are in favour of the euro (see Annex 7).


The Spring 2015 Standard Eurobarometer is the second EU-wide opinion poll conducted since the Juncker Commission took office on 1 November 2014.

It was conducted through face-to-face interviews between 16 and 27 May 2015. A total of 31,868 people were interviewed across the member states and in the candidate countries.

Further information

The 'First results report' published today outlines Europeans’ attitudes towards the EU, its institutions and policies, as well as citizens' main concerns and perceptions of the economic situation.

The 'First results report' is available here.

[1] The 28 European Union member states, five candidate countries (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania) and the Turkish Cypriot Community in the part of the country that is not controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus.


1. Most important concerns facing the EU

2. Optimism about the future of the EU

3. Image of the EU

4. Trust in the EU

5."My voice counts in the EU"

6. The impact of the crisis on jobs

7. Support for the Euro


Why is Parliament calling for new EU revenue-raising powers?



A levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste is one of Parliament’s proposals for new EU revenue sources 

Parliament is calling for new EU revenue sources to invest in Europe’s future and support the COVID-19 recovery without burdening taxpayers. Find out more.

With negotiations underway on the EU’s 2021-2027 budget as well as the €750 billion COVID-19 recovery instrument, one of the main sticking points is the issue of own resources.

Read more: The EU’s long-term budget explained.

What are own resources?

EU countries contribute to a common EU budget in order to achieve common objectives. Unlike national budgets, the EU budget is an investment budget and is not permitted to run a deficit. The EU treaties stipulate that the Union’s budget “shall be financed wholly from own resources”.

These revenue sources are determined by the Council, acting unanimously having consulted the Parliament, and must be ratified also by each EU country. The current system of own resources has remained largely unchanged for three decades and Parliament has long called for it to be overhauled.

What own resources currently exist?

As the EU budget must always be in balance, annual revenue must completely cover annual expenditure. For the current budgetary period (2014-2020), the overall amount of own resources cannot exceed 1.23% of the EU’s gross national income.

EU revenue presently consists of the following:

  • Traditional own resources (mainly customs duties, previously also included sugar levies; accounted for 13% of own resource revenue in 2018).
  • VAT-based own resource (transfer of a percentage of the estimated VAT collected by EU countries; accounted for 11% of revenue in 2018).
  • GNI-based own resource (EU countries transfer a share of their annual gross national income; accounted for 66% of own resource revenue in 2018).
  • Other revenue (includes fines to companies breaching EU competition law, contributions of non-EU countries to certain EU programmes and taxes on salaries of EU staff; accounted for 10% of total EU revenue sources in 2018).

Some EU countries (Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden) currently benefit from rebates on their contributions to the EU budget.

How is Parliament proposing to reform EU own resources?

Parliament has long been of the view that the EU revenue system is opaque, unfair and in need of reform, so as to be able to address current challenges and achieve meaningful results for Europeans.

To reduce reliance on GNI- and VAT-based contributions from EU countries, Parliament is calling for the introduction of new genuine revenue sources linked to EU policies and objectives. Parliament’s proposed timeline for the introduction of new revenue sources is:

  • 1 January 2021: a new national contribution based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste (would incentivise reduced use of single-use plastics, foster recycling and boost the circular economy)
  • 1 January 2021: own resource based on the proceeds of the Emissions Trading System (revenue from the system which restricts the volume of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by energy-intensive industry, power producers and airlines)
  • 1 January 2023: own resource based on digital services taxation (ensuring fair taxation of the digital economy)
  • 1 January 2023: own resource based on a carbon border adjustment mechanism (a carbon price on imports of certain goods from outside the EU, would help ensure a level playing field in the fight against climate change)
  • 1 January 2024: own resource based on a financial transaction tax (ensuring the financial sector pays its fair share of taxes)
  • 1 January 2026: own resource linked to the common consolidated corporate tax base (a share of companies' taxable profits as calculated under a single set of rules in the EU)

MEPs also insist on the abolition of all rebates.

What benefits would the own resources reform create?

These new revenue sources would pay off the joint debt taken by EU countries to finance the COVID-19 recovery fund. Without new own resources, the borrowed recovery money would have to be paid back through further reductions to EU programmes and/or higher GNI-based contributions from EU countries. Parliament wants to ensure that the burden is not on the taxpayer, but on the tech giants, tax dodgers, big foreign polluters and others who do not currently pay their fair share.

The proposed own resources would also ensure that the EU’s priorities – such as the Green Deal and the digital transformation – are better reflected in the financing of its budget. Additionally, they would support the functioning of the single market and reduce reliance on GNI-based national contributions.

How are EU revenue sources decided?

Following consultation with the Parliament, the system of EU own resources is adopted by unanimity in the Council and must be ratified by all EU countries. Parliament approved its position on own resources in a vote on 16 September 2020.

Negotiations between the Parliament and Council on the 2021-2027 budget got under way in late August. Parliament will not give its consent to the new EU budget if there is no agreement on the reform of EU revenue sources. MEPs insist that the first new own resources enter into force as of 1 January 2021 and be complemented thereafter following a binding calendar.

Continue Reading


Johnson should rip up Brexit divorce deal, think-tank says




An influential pro-hard Brexit think-tank urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tear up his divorce deal with the European Union on Saturday, saying it would still allow the bloc too much power in Britain, write Kate Holton.

Johnson’s government has sought this month to pass laws that could override parts of Britain’s EU exit treaty that it signed in January, despite a warning from Brussels that doing so would wreck their future relationship.

But the Centre for Brexit Policy said this did not go far enough because the Withdrawal Agreement allowed Brussels ongoing influence in Britain over such issues as the law and state aid.

To boost British leverage, the group says the government should also threaten to impose punitive terms on those euro zone companies wishing to raise capital for investment in London.

John Longworth, director-general of the group, said he hoped its report would act as a wake-up call for ministers as negotiators hold talks on the future relationship in the final months before the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31 and Britain fully leaves the bloc.

Its publication is likely to increase the pressure on Johnson’s government to not back down in the tough approach it has taken to the talks. The group is backed by several key lawmakers across multiple political parties in Britain.

“Deeply embedded in the Withdrawal Agreement are sweeping powers for the EU over much of our commercial and national life,” Longworth said.

“The prospect of the European Court of Justice and the European Commission continuing to issue orders to the UK and endless legal wrangling truly means we face a nightmare on Brexit street unless we break free from their clutches at the 11th hour.”

Continue Reading


France will not let Lebanon down - source close to Macron




France will not let Lebanon down, a source close to French president Emmanuel Macron told Reuters on Saturday (26 September), following the decision of its prime minister-designate to quit after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, write Michel Rose and Matthias Blamont.

“Lebanon’s Adib stepping down amounts to a ‘collective betrayal’ by Lebanese political parties,” the source said. The source also said Macron would make a statement at a later stage.

Mustapha Adib, former ambassador to Berlin, was picked on Aug. 31 to form a cabinet after Macron’s intervention secured a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared out between Muslims and Christians.

Continue Reading