Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Europeans Lose Faith in EU as Support for Populists Surges

European citizens have "historically low levels of trust" in both national governments and the EU, as a "specter of fear" sweeping across the continent leads to increased support for anti-establishment and far-right political parties, new research has found.

The report, released by UK-based think tank Demos, found that a "mood of fear and pessimism is spreading throughout Europe" with citizens increasingly uncertain about their country's and the EU's prospects in 2017.

The research, which surveyed adults in six EU countries — France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK — found low levels of trust in both the EU and national political institutions.

In a sign of the push against Brussels, a majority or substantial minority in each country were in favor of reducing the EU's powers, while there was also "an erosion of support for cultural and ethnic diversity."

The findings somewhat back up the conclusions drawn in the Munich Security Report, released on February 13, which warned the world was heading into a "post-West" era, with populist and anti-establishment movements gaining support for their rejection of traditional liberal values, while the report even noted that an increasing number of Western citizens were supporting authoritarian solutions to their problems.

"Populist parties reject the cultural modernization in Western societies and revolt against what they perceive as threats to the nation, ranging from immigration and cosmopolitan elites to international institutions. They dismiss pluralism and liberalism, essential elements of liberal democracies," the Munich report said.

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