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Europeans the most negative about future in developed world

A global survey has revealed that a majority of Europeans are concerned about as the future of a planet faced with mass migration. Almost three-quarters of the EU population worry about the future.

Published: May 5, 2019, 9:58 am

    According to a major global survey, seen by the British daily the Guardian, the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project revealed that issues such as public safety, healthcare, education, community and the future of the planet, concern the majority of voters.

    By contrast, the 23-nation survey found much greater optimism in emerging and newly developed economies. Of 1 021 Chinese people in the sample, 81 percent expressed optimism, as did 71 percent of Indonesians and 73 percent of Indians.

    Respondents in eight European countries – Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK – registered very low levels of optimism for the future of their countries.

    Almost two-thirds of French respondents were either pessimistic or very pessimistic about France’s future, compared to only 13 percent who expressed optimism. More than half of British respondents were negative about their country’s prospects, as were half of Italians and Spaniards about theirs.

    The French, who are currently ruled by a globalist president, were the most pessimistic of the countries surveyed. When asked to think about the next 12 months, 27 percent expressed optimism about their own future, while only 18 percent felt optimistic about the future of their local area, and just 8 percent expressed optimism about the future of the planet.

    French voters felt equally despondent about the prospects for future generations, with 7 percent saying that they would experience a better standard of living than their parents. Almost 74 percent said were going to be worse off in future, a view shared by 63 percent of Spaniards, 59 percent of Italians and more than half (53 percent) of UK citizens.

    The results show a European electorate disillusioned by mass migration. The EU has been struggling with debt, the migration crises and Brexit. The disaffection has translated into the resurgence of sovereignist parties in national elections across Europe recently.

    Sovereignist parties, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France and Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy, are projected to perform well in this month’s elections, with polls suggesting they could increase their share of MEPs.

    Matthijs Rooduijn, a political scientist at the University of Amsterdam who helped analyse the YouGov data, found that people with strong sovereignist feelings, were the most pessimistic. In fact, across the eight European countries surveyed, conservatives were more than twice as likely to feel pessimistic about their country’s future.

    The effect was magnified in France and Germany, where people with these views were four times more likely to express pessimism.

    German pessimism was especially notable, with their view of an “unfavourable international constellation” raising questions about the longevity of Germany’s economic success. Many Germans doubt that their successful economy will last.

    According to Claudia Senik, a professor at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), French national pessimism stems from societal changes.

    “It is really about the transformation of economy and society and how the welfare state has been adapted… income equality and our relationship with market economy and again the place of France in the world. I think it has to do with a certain level of aspiration that is difficult to fulfil,” she explained.

    “What is really bad is the questions about the economic prospects of the national economy, finance and economic prospects,” Senik added.


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