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MCC Brussels' Professor Bill Durodie responds to the latest Eurobarometer survey
The release of the latest Eurobarometer Survey by the European Commission continues a well-established pattern of those with the power to shape the narrative projecting their priorities onto a browbeaten public and then highlighting any positive echoes received.
As a forthcoming report by MCC Brussels shows, this format is both self-serving and long overdue for criticism and competition. It is replete with confirmation-bias, such as questions framed to yield desired responses. And that is when answers are not suppressed or reinterpreted due to their pointing to what the authorities deem to be the ‘wrong’ conclusions.
So, whether most citizens really want the EU to ‘invest massively in renewable energies’ as is proposed in the key findings is far from evident. It may depend on their understanding of renewables or be driven by concern over Russia’s monopoly over fossil fuels. Energy supply only appears in sixth place in a set of pre-determined issues for people to express their concerns about.
Unsurprisingly, these are dominated, as they almost always have been, by prices and the economic situation. What the public really think may be better gauged by the gains of a variety of conservative-leaning parties across the EU in recent times. Of course, these are dismissed as populist or based on misinformation by those who sense their authority challenged by these.
It is time for the public to be taken seriously and engaged in key debates over the future trajectory of the Union. Otherwise, pollsters will continue to elicit what they want to hear. The inordinate focus here on trust in the EU, optimism in the EU, and the image of the EU, will neither warm homes next winter, nor drive economies forward, let-alone restore any sense of pride or ambition for the future.