Many Europeans believe that the EU is pursuing a poorly thought out policy both within and outside of the bloc.
Some of them think that Brussels should change its stance toward Russia, others — that it should stop the redistribution of money in favor of less developed countries.
EU's Relations With Moscow
"One of my friends has directly suffered from the European Union's actions," Cornelis Decker, a Dutch citizen, told Sputnik. "Now he is having a hard time since the authorities are demanding that he should stop his work."
Decker explained that his friend has a travel agency that organizes trips to the Crimea. After EU countries imposed sanctions against Russia, his business has been in a deep crisis, the man stated.
Decker argued that the Netherlands doesn't have any reasons for confrontation with Russia. According to him, sanctions against Moscow are counterproductive.
"As a result, this friend of mine has big problems with the tax department," the man explained.
Relations between Moscow and Washington deteriorated in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The reunification was not recognized by Ukraine or the United States and some of its allies, which subsequently imposed economic and political sanctions on Moscow.
"The decision to impose sanctions costs us billions [of euros], a few thousand people have lost their jobs," Kris Roman, Belgian political scientist in charge of the analytical center Euro-Rus, told Sputnik, adding that the disputes on the matter have been ongoing.
Recently, Western sanctions have been expanded over Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil as well as its supposed global destabilization efforts, both of which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Redistribution of Money Within the Bloc
Another bone of contention among EU residents is about how money is being redistributed within the European Union.
As the consequences of the 2008 economic crisis still having a certain impact on European countries, many people in the Old World believe that Brussels' financial policy only aggravates the existing problems.
"I think that we are getting poorer because of the EU," Dutch citizen Albert Calle told Sputnik, complaining that wealthy countries have to pay for poor ones and lower their own standards of living. "We have to work for a longer period of time so that pensions could be further paid in such EU countries as Greece. Let's recall the banking crisis in Spain. We were the ones who paid for it because the Netherlands is one of the countries that constantly acts as an EU donor."
The EU authorities in Brussels advocate common standards for all countries and urge each of them to make concessions. However, many residents perceive these appeals without enthusiasm and are reluctant to either share their money, or obey to the rules imposed by some EU authority.
"My last negative experience with the EU has been of a personal nature. I had to buy a new car, because my old car does not meet the new standards of technical control introduced by the European Union," French resident Berta Iom complained.
Brussels' desire to establish common rules for everyone has become one of the main factors triggering skepticism toward the European bloc.
For instance, a French citizen and founder of the eurosceptic web portal soverain.fr, Xavier Jego, complained that the euro as a currency was created solely in the interest of Germany.
"The euro was designed to suit the needs of the German economy. If we take the German side, we'll see that the euro is undervalued by 20%, which significantly stimulates the export of German goods. As for France, the situation is different: the euro here is overvalued by 15%. Because of that, unemployment is growing, and our goods are more difficult to sell on foreign markets," the analyst claimed.
For this reason, Jego argued that the feasibility of an economic union between Germany and France needs to be questioned.
"There is one main reason why a single democratic system of 27 sovereign countries is untenable: because the European people and the European nation as such do not exist," Jego concluded.