For the first time, a Eurobarometer poll has shown that Bulgarians, formerly in favour of the euro, are now narrowly against it.
According to the first results of the Eurobarometer spring 2015 poll, asked about support for an economic and monetary union with one single currency, the euro, 44 per cent of Bulgarians polled were against, 43 per cent for, and 13 per cent responded “don’t know”.
Previous polls have shown those polled in Bulgaria – a country that has been an EU member since January 2007 but retains its local currency the lev – to be in favour of euro adoption.
Earlier in July 2015, Bulgaria’s centre-right coalition cabinet set up a commission to take practical steps towards eventual euro adoption, a move that came, coincidentally, amid the drama about Greece, that country’s creditors and talk of a “Grexit”.
Meanwhile, according to Eurobarometer, support across Europe had continued its upward trend, going by the spring 2015 poll’s first results.
Fifty-seven per cent of Europeans supported an economic and monetary union using the euro, a gain of a percentage point since autumn 2014. At the same time, opposition across Europe to the euro had remained unchanged at 36 per cent for the third consecutive time, according to Eurobarometer.
“Whereas support for the euro fell almost continuously between spring 2007 and spring 2013 (from 63 per cent down to 51 per cent), it has since increased steadily, though modestly, starting in autumn 2013 (from 51 per cent up to 57 per cent).”
In the euro area, close to seven in 10 respondents support the euro, after a two-point increase since autumn 2014 (69 per cent, vs. 25 per cent, -1).
Support for the euro has now risen by seven percentage points since the Standard Eurobarometer of spring 2013 (up from 62 per cent).
But outside the euro area, support is far less widespread, and the trend is downwards: a third of respondents are in favour a single currency (33 per cent, -2 vs. 58 per cent, +3).
While support for the euro has grown slightly at EU level, the number of countries where
it is the majority opinion has fallen: majorities of respondents are in favour of the euro in
21 EU member states (down from 23 in autumn 2014).
While at least eight in 10 respondents support the euro in Estonia (83 per cent), Slovakia (81 per cent) and Luxembourg (80 per cent), fewer do so in Croatia (56 per cent) and Hungary (55 per cent).
In seven countries (six outside the euro area, plus Cyprus), only minorities of respondents are in favour of the euro: Cyprus (44 per cent vs. 53 per cent), Bulgaria – where the population is almost evenly divided (43 per cent vs. 44 per cent), Poland (32 per cent vs. 54 per cent), Denmark (31 per cent vs. 63 per cent), Sweden (25 per cent vs. 72 per cent), the Czech Republic (22 per cent vs. 73 per cent) and the UK (20 per cent vs. 72 per cent).
Compared with autumn 2014, support for the euro has increased in 14 EI member states, most steeply in Lithuania (73 per cent, +10 percentage points)14 and in Greece (69 per cent, +6).
Conversely, it has decreased in 10 countries, most strikingly in Poland (32 per cent, -8), Cyprus (44 per cent, -7) and Austria (63 per cent, -6).
Support for the euro is unchanged in the four remaining countries: Estonia (83 per cent), Luxembourg (80 per cent), Croatia (56 per cent) and the United Kingdom (20 per cent).
Following the decline in support observed in Cyprus (-7) and Bulgaria (-2), these countries have joined the group of countries where opposition to the euro is the majority view, Eurobarometer said.
(Photo: Carlos Paes/sxc.hu)