The latest Eurobarometer poll, done in September 2018, found that 53 per cent of Bulgarians oppose the euro while 33 per cent are in favour of the single European currency.
Support for the euro in Bulgaria, which continues to use national currency the lev, has shed two percentage points since the previous Eurobarometer poll, carried out in April 2018.
The poll found that 55 per cent of Bulgarians saw the country’s EU membership as a good thing, an increase of one percentage point from April, while 31 per cent saw it as neither good nor bad, and 10 per cent saw it as a bad thing.
Sixty per cent of Bulgarians said that the country, which joined the EU in January 2007,had benefited from membership. Twenty-four per cent said that it had not and the rest did not know.
Going by the Eurobarometer poll, the equivalent of a Brexit referendum in Bulgaria would be unlikely to produce a vote to leave.
Asked how they would vote if a referendum on EU membership was held in Bulgaria now, 59 per cent said that they would vote to remain, 19 per cent would vote to leave and 22 per cent did not know.
Forty-three per cent of Bulgarians could correctly name the May 2019 date for European Parliament elections. Forty per cent said that they were interested in the elections and 58 per cent said that they were not.
Twenty-one per cent of Bulgarians polled said that they were very likely to vote in the European Parliament elections, 20 per cent said that they were likely to vote, 16 per cent “moderately likely” and 37 per cent not likely.
Across the EU, the September 2018 Eurobarometer poll showed a clear and growing appreciation for EU membership, reaching a record high of 68 per cent.
The latest Eurobarometer survey, measuring public attitudes to the EU across member states, highlights that more people than ever consider their country’s membership of the EU to be a good thing (62 per cent). This is the highest figure recorded in the last 25 years. Sixty-eight per cent are also of the view that their country has benefitted from EU membership – the highest figure since 1983.
Nearly all results measuring support for the EU showed a significant upturn following the UK referendum in 2016, suggesting growing concern across the continent at the impact that Brexit will have and a growing awareness, due to the difficult negotiations, of the benefits of being a member of the EU.
Sixty-six per cent of European respondents would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU (a majority in all member states) and only 17 per cent would contemplate leaving, with 17 per cent undecided.
The latest Eurobarometer figures also show a growing sense of satisfaction among Europeans in the democratic functioning of the EU (49 per cent), representing a three point increase since the previous survey in April, while 48 per cent feel that their voice counts in the EU, though this latter sentiment appears to be on the decline in a number of countries.
The Parlemeter 2018 survey though is not all good news. Despite significant and growing support for the EU in general, half of respondents are not happy with the direction the EU is heading in, with a similar result regarding their own country. Public opinion also seems quite stable in terms of expectations about the role of the EU in the future, with 48 per cent wanting the EU to play a more important role, as opposed to 27 per cent preferring less.
As regards the image of the European Parliament across the EU, one third (32 per cent) hold a positive view, one fifth (21 per cent) a negative view and a relative majority (43 per cent) remain neutral.
There is growing awareness of the 2019 European Parliament elections, with 41 per cent correctly identifying the date in May 2019 – a nine point increase over a similar survey six months ago and seven points more than in June 2013. However, 44 per cent still could not say when the elections will be taking place, compared to 46 per cent in June 2013.
With 51 per cent of citizens declaring to be interested in the elections, citizens’ campaign priorities have evolved over the past six-month period. Immigration now tops the agenda (50 per cent), followed by economy (47 per cent) and youth unemployment (47 per cent), whilst combatting terrorism moves down to fourth place with 44 per cent.
The fieldwork for the survey was carried out between September 8 and 26 2018 among 27 474 Europeans aged 16 or more, interviewed face-to-face by Kantar Public in all 28 member states.
(Photo: Jorge Vicente)