EU crisis: Majority of Europeans believed bloc ‘will fall apart within 20 years’ | World | News

The EU has endured a chaotic four years after the UK decided to leave the bloc and the coronavirus pandemic sparked further economic uncertainty. Talks over the EU’s response to the global health crisis have led to big rows, but doubt over the bloc’s long term future have loomed for years. This was highlighted in 2019 when a study found the majority of Europeans think the EU will fall apart within 20 years. This came despite the same study finding that support for the EU was high among voters in member states.

Significant proportions of people surveyed also said a war between EU countries was a realistic possibility over the next decade.

The survey, conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and YouGov, had more than 60,000 respondents across 14 EU member states.

In every country except Spain, the majority of voters believe the EU will fall apart within the next 10 to 20 years.

In startling statistics for the EU, 58 percent of respondents in France said it was realistic that the bloc would collapse within two decades.

Italian and Polish voters were almost as pessimistic, with 57 percent in both countries giving the same verdict – 40 percent of Spaniards polled also said the same.

More surprising, however, was the number of people in Europe who fear two EU member states could engage in conflict with one another.

Austrians were most likely to believe a European war was possible, with 38 percent saying it could happen within 10 years, followed by 35 percent of French respondents and 31 percent of Romanians.

This fear was particularly high among younger Europeans – for example 46 percent of the youngest respondents in France held this view.

The report highlighted that this view was common among those supportive of far-right parties.

This included Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, Jobbik in Hungary, and Golden Dawn in Greece.

The report also stated that many who opposed these parties still thought a European war was possible within 10 years.

The survey also indicated that many in Europe, especially younger people, aren’t optimistic about their financial prospects.

In Greece, more than 70 percent of people felt they had fewer economic opportunities than people in other European countries, while just over half of respondents in Romania, Spain and Italy believed they had an economic disadvantage.

Respondents in Denmark and Sweden were the least likely to hold the same views.

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These opinions still coincided with large support for the EU as a whole.

A Eurobarometer report published in the same month of 2019 found close to 70 percent of respondents would vote to stay in the EU, with an absolute majority of voters in 25 member states saying they would vote to remain.

However, the number of people who were not sure how they would vote in a referendum on EU membership had risen – a third of Italians said they were unsure, representing the highest degree of uncertainty out of any EU member state.

Economic division in the EU has been rife for years, and David Marsh, a historian who focuses on the eurozone, told Express.co.uk last year that the monetary union in Europe could be threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

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He said: “Sometimes crises lead to people coming together more – there’s the old adage that Europe is ‘forged in crises’.

“But of course you can have a crisis too far, and some crises end in the whole thing – in this case monetary union – blowing up.

“I think both of these possibilities are out there, and it’s difficult to tell which one is more likely.

“There is a chance the whole thing will come to an end, because the legitimate demands of the southern states won’t be possible for the northern states to meet, which could conceivably lead to a southern state leaving.

“The northern states could even depart as a bloc.”





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