26 April 2013, 15:14

Public confidence in EU plummets

Евросоюз флаг
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Euroscepticism in Britain is at a record high according to official figures published by the EU. Public confidence in the EU institutions has plummeted with many angry at bailouts, debt-crises and the surrender of sovereign power. 

Official figures from the EU’s polling organization Euro Barometer show that confidence is the EU is at a record low. The results show that cross the six biggest EU countries: Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland confidence in the EU has plummeted.

In Spain 72% of the public say they don’t trust the EU. Meanwhile 59% of Germans and 56% of French people say they have no faith in the EU. 2\3 of the British public now say they don’t trust the EU. No surprise, says Robert Oulds from the euroskeptic think tank the Bruges Group.

“It is not surprising that euroskepticism in Britain is on the increase. That is a steadily growing trend which we’ve observed now. For many years the British public is getting increasingly fed up with interference from the EU. The British people want democracy returned to their own institutions and don’t want to be told what to do by unaccountable bureaucrats on the continent.”

In a week the British public will go to the polls to vote in the local elections. The latest EU figures show that euroskeptic policies are likely to go down well with voters.

But David Cameron is yet to give a concrete commitment on what he will do before the general election. It is well known that people in the right of the Conservative Party think he should be considering withdrawing Britain from the EU.

The Conservative Party are contesting over 95% of the 2360 seats in the upcoming local elections. But following behind them is UKIP contest in 1734 seats.

Prof Tony Travers is from the London School of Economics. He says UKIP will be a major threat to the Conservatives.

“The big issue for the local elections is how far the UKIP – the United Kingdom Independence Party is going to make progress. And if any reminder of Europe and the EU and its relative unpopularity for a skeptical British public, that good at the margin feed into and help the UKIP.”

Prof Travers says Conservative voters disenfranchised with the party’s EU policies may now vote for the UKIP.

David Coburn is UKIP’s regional chairman for a London.

“I’ve been on the doorsteps, like everybody else. The first thing people mentioned is the EU. People now equate a lot of the problems that we have in the UK with being a member of the European Union. Pressure on housing, on schools, social security – they see this opening of European borders is a serious problem.”

This week Jose Manuel Barroso the President of the European Commission accepted that the EU was under threat. He says the resurgence of populism and nationalism could lead to the demise of the so-called European dream.

And according to the EU’s own figures that dream is most under threat in Spain. Spaniards reported the lowest trust in the EU with over 72% saying they have no faith in the European Union’s institutions. Unemployment figures of today won’t help either. Unemployment in Spain has risen to 27% with over 6 million Spaniards now out of work.

David Coburn is UKIP’s regional chairman for London.

“These countries were very pro-European Union when they were building motorways and developing infrastructure with the money from British and German taxpayers. But when the money runs out and when they EU economy takes a dive, all of a sudden their opinion is changed.”

The local elections in England and Wales will take place on 2 May.

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