Share article:

    Europeans fall prey to crisis of confidence fuelling populism

    A study relating, in particular, to the five largest European nations makes disturbing reading. The majority of Europeans say that their country is in decline, which is fuelling the mistrust towards political parties and the rise of populism.

    In Italy, 73% of individuals questioned believe that their country is waning. The figure is 69% in Spain, 67% in France, 57% in the United Kingdom and 47% in Germany.

    This is per a study produced in October and November 2016, by Ipsos Global Advisor. As indicated, its focus was, in particular, upon the five largest European nations.

    The majority of French (61%), Italians (60%) and Spanish (56%) are convinced that their generation has a poorer quality of life than their parents. This is a view shared by 44% of Germans and 43% of British citizens.

    As a consequence, Europeans have very little trust in their government, the figure being 89% of Spanish, 80% of Italians, 77% of French, 70% of Germans and 66% of Brits.

    The highest mistrust of international institutions is in Spain (77%), but it is also very strong in France (65%) and in Italy (64%), as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom (59%).

    These attitudes are fuelling populism, the study says. Except for in Germany (with a result of 34%), the majority of those surveyed think that their country needs a strong leader to take power from the mighty.

    The figures are 72% in Spain, 70% in France, and 67% in both Italy and in the United Kingdom.

    To improve their country’s situation, 80% of French are prepared to vote for “a leader who is not afraid to change the rules.” This figure compares to 68% of Italians and 50% of British but only 21% of Germans.

    In Spain, 62% of those questioned said that they would be likely to vote for a party whose leader is prepared to “radically alter the status quo.”

    Some 52% of those interviewed in Spain, and 51% in France, are prepared to vote for a party, the leader of which, says what they think, even at risk of causing offence to some.

    Lastly, countries recently affected by terrorism are most inclined to want its eradication by all means possible, even at the cost of reducing civil liberties. This is the opinion of 59% of those interviewed in France and 55% in Belgium, compared to only 35% in Italy and 31% in Spain.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times