Survey: EU support continues to be strong among Estonians

29.12.2015 | 14:20

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Stenbock House, December 29, 2015 – Seventy-eight (78)% of Estonia's inhabitants support the European Union membership of Estonia says the recent survey "Attitudes and Awareness of the Population in European Union Issues" conducted by Faktum & Ariko, commissioned by the Government Office. Almost two thirds (65%) of ethnic non-Estonians find that being a member of the European Union is a positive thing. 

The survey indicates that Estonia's populace continues to support the membership in the European Union. This is also corroborated by the Eurobarometer Survey from the fall, published last week, according to which Estonia has the highest support rate for the Euro in the whole of the EU (82%).

In 2014, the support rate was 84%, which was the highest rate ever recorded. With the exception of last year, the support rate has remained comparatively stable in the post-recession years (80% in 2013, 74% in 2012). According to the conductors of the survey, the changing situation in Europe is the main reason behind the slight change in the support rate. 

"The rise in the support rate last year seemed to be caused by the fact that some people saw the European Union as a security guarantee in the context of the Ukraine crisis, whereas this issue has now been largely replaced by the refugee crisis," Liina Märtin, Project Manager of Faktum & Ariko explained. "However, it would be wrong to say that the refugee crisis has caused a decline in the support rate - the support numbers have rather sunk back to the regular level where they were before the rise in 2014," she added.
Support for EU membership tends to be higher among the younger, highly-educated and better-paid ethnic Estonians. Support for the Euro has remained the same as last year, at 78%.

The number of respondents who feel that they are informed about the goals and interests of Estonia within the EU grows year by year. While 50% of the respondents felt that they were informed about these issues last year, the number is 57% this year. Fifty-two (52)% of the population sees Estonia's activities in the EU as a success (61% in 2014) while 40% think they are not a success. Young people in the age group 15-29 tend to see Estonia's activities as a success more than other age groups (66%). The more positive a person feels about Estonia's EU membership, the more likely he or she is also to appreciate Estonia's activities in the Union.

When respondents were asked about the importance of the activity areas within the European Union, solving the original problem behind the refugee crisis came out as the top priority. Exactly half of the respondents saw this as one of the two top priority action areas (30% putting it in first place, 20% in second). Second place is taken by the development of the infrastructure connecting Estonia with the rest of Europe (e.g. Rail Baltic and the energy links with the Nordic Countries), with 35% of the respondents naming this issue as a priority (17% as the first and 18% as the second priority). These two issues were followed by the need for ensuring bank surveillance (27%), ensuring the stability of the Euro (26%) and visa freedom with Russia (24%).

The survey was conducted in November 2015 via phone interviews. The general sample of the survey was made up of permanent inhabitants of the Republic of Estonia older than 15 years of age, with 500 respondents interviewed in total.

The results of the Eurobarometer survey are available here:!mN94xH

Government Communication Unit