More than half of people living in Belgium said they were not satisfied with the European Union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament.
Overall, the satisfaction towards the EU’s actions was below the member states’ average, the report conducted between March and April 2021 and published on Thursday found.
“In 19 out of 27 Member States, more than half of respondents say that they are satisfied with the measures the EU has taken so far against the Covid-19 pandemic. The lowest levels of satisfaction are seen in France, Germany (both 35%), Greece (41%), Belgium and Luxembourg (both 44%),” the report stated.
Looking back at the EU’s actions taken in response to the pandemic last summer, around eight in ten Europeans know what measures or actions were initiated by the EU, yet only half approve.
“Despite this high level of awareness, only 48% of citizens on EU average claim to be satisfied with the measures while 50% are not,” the report read.
Regarding the economic impact of the pandemic and the restrictions, 31% of Europeans surveyed, and just over one in five people living in Belgium, said that their financial situation had been affected, whilst 26% of Europeans, and 27% of people living in Belgium, expected their income to decrease in the coming months.
Meanwhile, around half of Europeans want to see reforms within the EU. Just under a quarter (23%) support the EU “as it has been realised so far,” while 47% “are in favour, but not the way it has been realised until now.”
Belgium was among the countries where the rating of the EU’s image was the lowest.
This dissatisfaction was particularly visible when it came to the health sector, as 74% of Europeans, and 85% of people living in Belgium, said they want the EU to acquire more powers to deal with health crises, and in particular future pandemics.
Normally, health is an exclusive competence of the Member States, however, the current pandemic has led the European Commission to launch an ambitious “Europe of Health” project, in particular with the setting up of a Health Emergency Response Agency (HERA), to centralise the response for future crisis.
Around 26,700 people (including 1,034 people living in Belgium) were interviewed across all Member states for the survey, aimed at gauging the state of opinion on the continent.