Nearly 6 in 10 Belgians (58%) have a somewhat negative opinion of the European Union. This is per a study coordinated by the think tank Chatham House. Le Soir is echoing these findings in its Tuesday edition. Out of the populations surveyed from ten European countries, only the Greeks and the French are more negative on the EU front. “Negative” sentiments reported range from disgust (35%) to irritation, including worry and pessimism (48%) and unease.
The article in Le Soir notes that even the Brits, with the process of Brexit under way, adopt a greater level of optimism than Belgium. The study goes further, analysing the attitude of European citizens on an entire series of points and issues. Alexander Mattelaer, the Director of European Affairs at the Institut Egmont, flags up that the results are sometimes surprising in terms of Belgium. He is responsible for analysing the Belgian element of the results.
He writes, “More than half of the Belgian public are expressing negative sentiments towards refugees and asylum seekers. This is even more than Hungary or any other country covered by the survey.” He further notes, “The most curious aspect of this study revolves around cultural aspects.”
Mattelaer goes on, “The death penalty is considered acceptable by more than half of the Belgian public, comparable to France, the United Kingdom, Hungary and Poland. Moreover 64% of the Belgian public would favour stopping immigration from Muslim countries.”