Bulgarians are EU’s biggest fans but don’t want the euro, poll says

Bulgarians are, relatively speaking, the European Union’’s biggest fans of Israel, Russia and the EU itself, but less so of US president Barack Obama, the euro or their own government’s economic policy, according to the latest Transatlantic Trends survey.

Obama, reportedly holding a small lead in the polls ahead of the November 2012 US presidential elections, would have so much more to worry about if his ambition was to rally the Bulgarian electorate.

According to Transatlantic Trends, Obama’s approval rating in Bulgaria had dropped 21 points since his inauguration in 2009, to a current 51 per cent. Were Bulgarians allowed to vote in US presidential elections, Obama would be able to count on only 40 per cent, going by the poll. Only Poles were less enthusiastic, at 35 per cent.

However, were Europeans overall allowed to vote, Obama would walk the elections, with 75 per cent support. His support was strongest in France (89 per cent) and Germany (87 per cent).

The Transatlantic Trends survey found that the EU continued to be seen the most favourably by the two countries that most recently joined it, the 2007 newcomers Bulgaria (88 per cent) and Romania (84 per cent).

Bulgarians were the most positive towards Germany, with 88 per cent of those polled viewing the country favourably. Among Europeans, Bulgarians were the most favourable towards Greece, at 53 per cent.

Eighty-nine per cent of Bulgarians said that they had been affected by the financial crisis, and with 72 per cent disapproval of their government’s economic policies, Bulgarians were in second-highest place in Europe in their disapproval rating on this issue.

But for all their relative enthusiasm about the EU, Bulgarians polled were the least likely to say that EU membership had a positive impact on their economy, Transatlantic Trends said. At the same time, 63 per cent approved of the way that the EU had been handling the economic crisis in Europe. Sixty-six per cent approved of the way that German chancellor Angela Merkel had handled the economic crisis.

A plurality of Bulgarian respondents, 45 per cent, thought that adopting the euro currency would be bad for them.

Among EU countries, the approval rating ofIsraelwas highest inBulgaria, at 47 per cent.

According to Transatlantic Trends, the only majorities in Europe holding a favourable opinion of Russia were in Bulgaria (78 per cent, down from 88 per cent in 2011) and Slovakia (64 per cent).

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.