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 to July 2020 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, including in supporting their country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. 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, 59% in the Maghreb said they were good, compared to 67% in the Mashrek countries while both regions saw EU financial support as being effective (61% Maghreb and 74% Mashrek).
In more general terms, 45% in the Maghreb had a positive image of the EU, compared to 47% in the Mashrek, while compared to last year, the percentage of those mentioning a negative image of the EU increased to 17% in the Mashrek and 18% in the Maghreb. The values most frequently associated with the EU were individual freedom, human rights and gender equality in Mahgreb and Mashrek.
Citizens in the Maghreb countries felt EU support had contributed most to trade (34%) and tourism (31%) in their countries, while in the Mashrek tourism (31%) and education (27%) were the most frequently cited areas. In both regions, respondents want the EU to play an even greater role in promoting trade, health and economic development.
When asked about the support provided by the EU to their country during the Coronavirus pandemic, citizens both in the Maghreb (66%) and in the Mashrek (63%) answered that it had been effective.
In general, respondents in both Maghreb and Mashrek think that the European Union’s image in their national media is positive. On television, 62% in Maghreb and 49% in Mashrek believe that the image is very to fairly positive, while only 9% believe it to be very to fairly negative in both regions. Television is followed by websites (51% positive in Maghreb and 43% in Mashrek), printed press (40% positive in Maghreb and 35% in Mashrek) and radio (42% positive in Maghreb and 33% in Mashrek).
People across the southern Mediterranean are generally satisfied with their lives (64% in Maghreb compared to 62% in the Mashrek). Optimism for the next 12 months decreases compared with last year, with 52% in the Maghreb and 30% in the Mashrek expecting their life in general to be better (against 14% and 28% expecting it to be worse).