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EU popularity hits rock bottom

March 1st, 2013

An independent political analyst suggests that the low popularity ratings of the EU are due primarily to the recession, but in Hungary, the government’s rhetoric is also a factor.

In his Hungarian EU-blog, tagokvagyunk (we are members), József Péter Martin remarks that the EU its technocratic, top-down decision-making procedures to the wider public. No wonder that – witness the latest Eurobarometer survey – EU-scepticism is at a peak. Martin would find it naive to believe, however, that more transparent governance, or a more democratic structure within the EU, as proposed by some, would dissipate public scepticism. As a consequence of the economic downturn, while core countries feel they have to contribute too much, weaker members resent getting too little. Hungary shows signs of “soft euro-scepticism”: the dire state of the domestic economy is ‘projected’ onto the EU, and this perception is supported by Viktor Orbán’s firebrand rhetoric. And yet, the author concludes on a more optimistic note: even at this darkest hour, the supporters of the common currency and of membership are still the majority in most member states.

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