PRESS RELEASE Brussels, 20 March 2013
EU cooperation positively perceived by its neighbours Citizens in the European Neighbourhood area are generally positive about the relations their country has with the European Union, shows the findings of the EU Neighbourhood Barometer, released today. This opinion is strong in the Southern Neighbourhood, where more than half of those surveyed describe them as good. In fact, the EU has a positive image for citizens from 16 partner countries in the European Neighbourhood area, with people citing ‘human rights’ and ‘solidarity’ as the characteristic which best represents the EU in the Eastern and Southern partner countries. In terms of cooperation between countries people felt that the most important areas were ‘peace and security’, followed by ‘trade’ and ‘human rights’ in the South; and by ‘tackling poverty’ and 'human rights’ among citizens in the East. “The results announced today help us better understand the democratic process in our partner countries. Assessing public opinion in the EU Neighbourhood is vital in helping us to better respond to the concerns of the citizens living there and to make sure that our support lives up to their expectations” said European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle. A majority of citizens in the South (64%) generally remain satisfied with the life they lead, which contrasts with those in the East (47%). Citizens from the Southern neighbourhood are also more positive than their Eastern partnership counterparts when judging of the economic situation in their country, with 39% qualifying it as being either very or rather good (compared to 25% in the East) and saying that they expect this situation to become better in the next 12 months. Southern neighbours are also more optimistic when it comes to the impact of the crisis on jobs: half of citizens think the impact on the job market has already reached its peak (against one out of three in East). In both areas, the EU is seen as the best donor to take effective action against the impact of the crisis in their country, after their national government (19% say this in the Eastern partnership countries compared with 9% in the Southern countries). The same survey reveals however that many people do not feel they are well informed about what the EU does in their countries. This underlines the need to better inform citizens in partner countries about the European Neighbourhood Partnership (ENP); its objectives, instruments and its achievements.
Background information On the EU Neighbourhood Barometer The EU Neighbourhood Barometer conducts opinion polls in the 16 partner countries and territories participating in the European Neighbourhood policy, plus Russia, through biannual standard barometers (spring and autumn) and one special barometer per year. The biannual surveys aim to assess the population’s knowledge and perception of the EU, EU Neighbourhood Policy and cooperation activities and programs.
On EU Neighbourhood Policy The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) offers 16 of the EU’s southern and eastern neighbours the possibility for closer political association, enhanced trade and economic integration, greater mobility, and assistance with sectoral reforms. The aim of the ENP is to build, together with partner countries, a prosperous, secure and stable neighbourhood on the basis of shared values and common interests, promoting greater prosperity, stability and security for all parties. The main financial instrument for assistance to the Neighbourhood partner countries is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). It will receive €12 billion for the financial period 2007-2013. Annual European Neighbourhood Policy package along with country progress reports is being announced today. For more information see – IP/13/245
For more information Website of the EU Neighbourhood Barometer - http://euneighbourhood.eu Website of th