Polls highlight positive views of EU partnership across southern Mediterranean
Most people in the EU’s southern Mediterranean partners feel the European Union has a very or fairly positive relation with their country and they believe EU financial support to be effective. These are just some of the findings of the latest wave of annual opinion polls in the seven southern Mediterranean partner countries, just published by the EU Neighbours South project.
The surveys were conducted from June-September 2019 in three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), and in four countries of the Mashrek (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel). Respondents were asked about their general perceptions of the EU and the values with which it is associated, about EU relations with their country, and the impact of EU financial support. The surveys also look at preferred sources of information, how people feel about their personal situation and the situation in their country, and their expectations for the future.
Asked to describe relations with the EU, 63% in the Maghreb said they were good, compared to 67% in the Mashrek countries while both regions saw EU financial support as being effective (60% Maghreb and 78% Mashrek).
In more general terms, 46% in the Maghreb had a positive image of the EU, compared to 50% in the Mashrek, while just 4% in the Mashrek had a negative image and 9% in the Maghreb. The values most frequently associated with the EU were individual freedom and human rights in Mahgreb and Mashrek.
Citizens in the Maghreb countries felt EU support had contributed most to trade (35%) and tourism (31%) in their countries, while in the Mashrek economic development (26%) and tourism (26%) were the most frequently cited areas. In both regions, respondents want the EU to play an even greater role in promoting trade, human rights and economic development.
In general, respondents in both Maghreb and Mashrek think that the European Union’s image in their national media is positive. On television, 59% in Maghreb and 54% in Mashrek believe that the image is very to fairly positive, while respectively only 6% and 7% believe it to be very to fairly negative. Television is followed by websites (51% positive in Maghreb and 49% in Mashrek), printed press (42% positive in Maghreb and 38% in Mashrek) and radio (41% positive in both Maghreb and Mashrek).
People across the southern Mediterranean are generally satisfied with their lives (71% in Maghreb compared to 68% in the Mashrek). They are also optimistic for the next 12 months, with 56% in the Maghreb and 32% in the Mashrek expecting their life in general to be better (against 13% and 24% expecting it to be worse).