Europeans believe in greater cohesion despite the failures of the EU’s Covid-19

Pan-European survey shows greater disapproval of national leaders in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

Europeans believe in greater cohesion despite the failures of the EU's Covid-19

Deep public frustration with the fragmented EU response to the coronavirus and the European governments’ handling of the pandemic is evident in recently published surveys across the continent. The vast majority, however, say that the pandemic has convinced them that EU governments must work more closely together in the face of future external threats.

In Italy, one of the countries most affected by the virus, 63% said the EU let its citizens down as the pandemic broke through southern Europe and asked who their most useful ally was on the darkest days of the crisis, only 4% of Italians mentioned the EU, while 25% said China.

Those who perceived the EU’s work as bad (more than half in France) outnumber those who said the bloc was “inappropriate”, as the death toll that took off left some communities struggling to bury their dead. The vast majority of countries surveyed believe that either their country is left alone or they simply do not know who their most useful ally is.

Europeans in nine countries, which make up about two thirds of the EU population, were interviewed for the European Council on Foreign Relations as their governments began planning to ease the blockades. The final report by Ivan Krustev and Mark Leonard describes the level of public frustration as “alarming” as EU leaders discuss a recovery plan that would include raising trillions of euros in public funding.