Cypriots are concerned about the course of the country and the European Union, according to the latest regular Eurobarometer released by the European Commission on Wednesday, which covers the period of winter 2022-2023.
In particular, 52% of Cypriots is not satisfied with the way democracy works in the country (41% in the EU), while 56% is satisfied with democracy in the EU (56% in the EU).
Particularly noteworthy is the finding that 58% of Cypriot respondents receive news from social networks on the internet (the highest percentage in the EU where the average is 29%), while they say they often come across news or information that they believe distorts reality or is even false (84% in Cyprus, 69% in the EU).
Regarding the future, only 54% of Cypriot respondents is optimistic (the same percentage as recorded in the Eurobarometer of Spring 2022). This is the fourth lowest share in the EU, where the average is 62%.
More specifically, 58% of Cypriots think that in general things are heading in the wrong direction in their country (down 3% from Spring 2022). Both Cypriots and other Europeans also think that things are heading in the wrong direction in the EU as well (54%, down 4%, 52% in the EU).
However, both think that things are heading in the right direction in their personal lives (68% in Cyprus, up 7%, 66% in the EU). Cypriots are generally satisfied with their lives (80%, -2% since Spring 2022), as are Europeans (83%).
Cypriots rate the general situation in their country as bad (57%, down 4% from Spring 2022, 58% in the EU), as well as the current state of their national economy (61%, down 7%, 63% in the EU), while they consider the state of the European economy to be good (46%, up 7%, 40% in the EU). However, they expect things to remain the same in the next 12 months.
Regarding their trust in institutions, Cypriots said they tend to trust the health sector and national medical staff (71% in Cyprus, 76% in the EU), the army (69%, 71% respectively), regional or local public authorities (52%, 56%) and the country’s justice and legal system (48%, 54%).
On the contrary, they said that they tend to not trust political parties (83% in Cyprus, 75% in the EU), NATO (68%, 39% respectively), the Parliament (67%, 61%) and in equal numbers the media (65%, 58%) and the national government (65%, 63%).
The survey was carried out in Cyprus with a sample of 504 people in the areas controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus from 12 February to 6 February.
Consequences of Russian invasion on the economy
In relation to the EU’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 45% said they were satisfied (56% in the EU) and 48% were dissatisfied (38% in the EU). In relation to their government’s response to the Russian invasion, 47% said they were satisfied (55% on average in the EU) and 48% were dissatisfied (40% in the EU).
Regarding the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 90% of respondents in Cyprus believe that it has serious consequences for them personally and 97% that it has serious economic consequences for the country (63% and 86% respectively in the EU average).
However, a significant percentage of respondents in Cyprus (72%) consider the Russian invasion to be a threat to EU security, quite close to the EU average (81%).
The majority of Cypriot respondents believe that defence cooperation in the EU should increase, as well as investment in renewable energy sources.
Migration and inflation seen as most pressing issues
Asked which issues they consider the most important issues facing Cyprus, the most popular answers were migration (52%, 9% in the EU), rising prices, inflation and the cost of living (46%, 53% in the EU), and the country’s economic situation (32%, 19% in the EU).
Cypriot participants in the survey considered these three issues to be the most important issues facing Europe, with 48% choosing immigration (17% on average in the EU), 30% choosing rising prices (32% in the EU) and 30% choosing the economic situation of the country (18% in the EU).
The order was reversed when respondents were asked what are the most important issues they face personally, with 58% choosing rising prices (62% where it is also the most popular answer – it was also the top EU-level answer for the most important issue facing each country and Europe), 19% chose immigration (3% in the EU) and 18% chose the economic situation of their household (15% in the EU).
However, in terms of their satisfaction with the life they live, 80% of respondents in Cyprus (83%) on average in the EU answered generally very or fairly satisfied. Indicatively, the highest percentage of positive responses to this question was recorded in Denmark (98%) and Sweden (97%) and the lowest in Romania (58%) and Greece (61%).
Reception of EU and its policies
When asked about their image of the EU, Cypriot respondents answered that they have a positive image of the EU by 42% (45% in the EU), and a neutral image by 37% (36% in the EU).
Asked what they consider to be the most positive outcome of the EU, 58% in Cyprus (52% in the EU) chose free movement of people of goods and services, 49% (46%) chose peace between member states and 32% (19%) chose educational exchange programmes such as Erasmus.
However, only 33% (60% on average) think that the country’s interests are taken into account at the EU level, and the majority think that their country’s opinion is not taken enough into account (64%, 34% in the EU). 68% in Cyprus (53% in the EU) think that their voice does not count in the EU.
However, despite the above figures, 59% in Cyprus do not think the country could face the future in a better way outside the EU (65% on average in the EU). A significant 79% of Cypriots feel like a citizen of the EU (74% in the EU), but only 59% feel connected to the EU (61% in the EU).
In relation to the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 68% of Cypriot respondents said they trust the EU to make the right decisions in the future, slightly above the EU average (63%).
Finally, Cypriots, with slight variations compared to last year, continue to feel that they are not well informed about European issues, and a high proportion do not trust the media and institutions.