80 per cent of Belgians say their country benefits from EU membership

European citizens have a growing interest in the upcoming EU elections, Eurobarometer’s latest figures reveal. According to the study, this general growing interest is tightly linked to overarching geopolitical tensions. In Belgium, the appetite to vote goes down a bit, but most residents are convinced that being a member of the EU offers great added value. 

From 6 to 9 June, citizens from all European Union member states can once again elect their representatives to the European Parliament for the next five years. Eurobarometer's latest poll therefore gauges interest in the European elections, but also studies attitudes towards the EU in general. Interestingly, Belgians seem to have more confidence in the EU than average, with 80 per cent of Belgians believing that their country has benefited from EU membership. A majority of 67 per cent are also very or rather optimistic about the future of the EU. 

There is also a strong interest in the EU among Belgians, according to the survey. As many as 45 per cent already know that the European elections are in June, compared to an average of 29 per cent of Europeans. The fact that there are also federal and regional elections on that day may well contribute to Belgians being more aware of the timing. Curiously enough, Belgium is at the same time one of the few countries where the intention to vote has dropped compared to five years ago (from 77 to 75 per cent), although that is still higher than the European average of 71 per cent. Belgium, however, remains one of the few where compulsory voting applies.

Overall, the geopolitical tensions and international context seem to be driving the growing interest in EU elections. According to the respondents, peace should be the top priority for the European Parliament in the coming years. Democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law follow at a distance. 

The Eurobarometer is an EU-wide survey that has been regularly tracking public opinion across 27 member states since 1973. As part of this new data wave, over 26,000 people were interviewed between February and March.


Alexander De Croo during a press conference on the mid-term results of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE

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