77% of Maltese believe that Malta has benefited in the EU

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77% of Maltese believe that Malta has benefited in the EUA majority of Maltese citizens (65%) would be more inclined to vote in the May 2014 European elections if political families named their candidates for the next President of the European Commission, says a new ‘Eurobarometer’ survey, published today.

For the first time, the next Commission President will be elected by the newly-elected European Parliament.

The survey also shows that 77% of Maltese citizens (an 18% increase since June 2011) believe that, taking everything into account, Malta has on balance benefited from being a member of the European Union.

The survey was conducted in June, in the wake of the long-term EU budget discussions and prior to the migrants ‘push back’ controversy. Views were collected from more than 27,000 respondents across the 28 EU member states.

For the first time, the European Parliament will elect the European Commission President. 55% of EU citizens said they would be more inclined to vote in the parliamentary elections on 22-25 May if political families put forward a candidate for the post. 70% said they would be in favour of directly electing the President of the European Commission in future.

The fight against unemployment, social inequalities and public debt were the challenges most cited by respondents for the years to come.

More Europeans described their identity as both national and European (49% of respondents, a six-point increase since June 2012). And 72% said that what brings them together is stronger than what divides them.

The key elements of ‘European identity’ cited by the Maltese respondents are the values of democracy and freedom (44%), followed by the euro (38%) and history (36%), followed by culture and geography (29% and 25% respectively).

As in past surveys, 50% of EU citizens said being in the EU is a good thing (result for Malta was 64%), compared to 17% who view their country’s membership negatively (9% of Maltese citizens view EU membership as a bad thing).

An absolute majority of EU citizens see free movement (56%) and peace (53%) between the member states as benefits, followed by the euro in third place (24%).

The full Eurobarometer survey can be consulted online: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/00191b53ff/Eurobarom tre.html?tab=2013_3

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