Poll: 55% of Estonians skeptical about EU's future (1)

The flags of Estonia and the EU. (Erik Prozes/Postimees/Scanpix)
9/7/2016 5:05 PM
Category: News

While 77 percent of Estonian citizens support Estonia's membership in the EU, 55 percent believe that the union will not survive in the long run, results of a poll commissioned by the Estonian Institute of Social Research and conducted in August by Turu-uuringute AS showed.

According to Institute of Social Research analyst Art Johanson, the objective of the poll was to gauge people's opinions about the future prospects of the EU.

"Over half, or 55 percent, of respondents replied to the question 'In your opinion, will the EU continue to exist in the long term?' with 'No' or 'Likely not,'" explained Johanson. "Although this question was asked for the first time, and so there is no comparison point with previous studies. The results reflect people's slight uncertainty about the future of the EU, which may be the result of Brexit or the refugee crisis and the eurozone's economic problems."

At the same time, Estonians' support of their country's membership in the EU remains high, with 77 persent of poll respondents responding that Estonia should remain in the union. The same question was posed in a January poll in which 82 percent of respondents responded positively.

"While a slight drop in support can be seen in comparing the two polls, this is fairly marginal and it cannot be inferred based upon this that opposition to EU membership has increased markedly," said Johanson.

EU membership is supported somewhat more by women, Estonians and respondents with higher education. Support in the 25-34 age group was measured at 72 percent, which was smaller than that measured in other age groups, including 79.5 percent in the 18-24 age group and up to 86 percent among pension-aged respondents. However, support is strong across all demographic groups, regardless of sex, age, education level and other indicators.

In both polls, respondents were asked about their attitudes toward European integration, i.e. should the strengthening of EU cooperation continue or has it already gone too far, to which 31 percent of January's respondents found that cooperation should continue to be strengthened, 39.5 percent found that the (then-)current level of cooperation was enough and 29 percent found that EU cooperation had already gone too far.

In August, in comparison, 25 percent of survey respondents favored the further strengthening of EU cooperation, while 44 percent were satisfied with the current level of cooperation and 31 pecent thought that EU cooperation had gone too far. Thus a comparison between the two polls' results revealed that the number of people in support of strengthening EU cooperation had dropped somewhat as well.

In August of this year, research firm Turu-uuringute AS conducted face-to-face polls with a total of 818 Estonian citizens of voting age.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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