Every week, surveys from all across the EU tell us what Europeans are thinking, feeling and talking about. In our new segment, eupinions echo, we collect these voices and play them back to you. Each week, we highlight one survey of particular interest in a short blogpost and share daily new survey results via our website and our twitter channel.
On 1 July 2020, Germany officially assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the next six months Germany will chair the Council's meetings and be responsible for furthering EU legislation. The German Council presidency comes at a time of general EU positivity in Germany as a new survey by the German Banking Federation shows. Nearly two thirds of Germans (64%) hold the European Union in either high or very high regards. In the bloc of Germans under the age of 30, that share increases to a total of 88%. These positive results persist despite a general critique of EU crisis management during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 46% of Germans saying the EU had not proven itself during the crisis. We examined similar results in our blogpost last week showing that respondents from other European countries echo Germans’ view of the EU’s Covid19 crisis management.
While Germans are generally supportive of the European Union and its institutions, they also harbour high expectations towards them. A separate recent survey by infratest dimap and the ARD reveals which issues are most important to Germans on a European level. 50% of Germans prioritize the continued fight against climate change and protection of the environment as a top priority for the new German EU Council presidency. This makes climate change the single most important issue to Germans, notably beating "overcoming the ongoing Corona pandemic" at 39%.
Interestingly, the environmental focus of Germans seems to have changed very little due to the pandemic, as these new results closely resemble our own findings from last year's eupinions study: Great Expectations. Published in November of 2019, before Corona and at a time when the new EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen was just about to start their work, the study similarly asked Germans and other European citizens about their expectations of the new Commission and what issues they see as most urgent over the coming years. Back then, 49% of Germans (and 40% of EU citizens as a whole) viewed the environment as top issue for the EU to tackle.