Public Opinion in Romania regarding the EU (European Union) January 2006


Romanians become more realistic about EU accession
The confidence of the Romanian citizens in the EU has fallen to 64 pc, against 74 pc in the autumn 2004, and 68 pc last spring
Nine O’Clock – January 25, 2006

Bucharest – According to the latest Eurobarometer yesterday by the European Commission Delegation, currently “the Romanians have a much more realistic perception of the EU.” The head of the European Commission Delegation for Romania, Jonathan Scheele, declared that “this report shows that the Romanians are more and more similar to the other Europeans, even if they tend to be in many respects more confident than others in the European project. It is a natural process of rapproachment to Europe.” After recalling that the clock in University Square shows exactly 340 days remaining until the accession of Romania to the structures of the European Union, Scheele appealed to realism, stressing that “EU is not a universal remedy, and that Romania must settle alone its problems, internally. The results of this report also evidence the fact that the situation in our country advances towards normality.” Nevertheless, Jonathan Scheele did not refrain from acknowledging that such disappointment could have two reasons: an unprepared accession, and also possible unrealistic… expectations. The European official also said that four years ago, when he got in contact with the domestic realities, he worried about the too high confidence in the EU and the very low awareness. Although he recognised that he is glad that the European institutions are well appreciated in Romania, Scheele stressed that he does not want a blind confidence in the European dream. According to his report, the confidence of the Romanian citizens in the EU falls to 64 per cent, against 74 per cent in the autumn 2004, and 68 per cent in the spring last year. The survey presented yesterday in Bucharest also shows the increase of the Euro-indifference, a characteristic trend in several EU countries.

Domestic concerns

According to the quoted document, the main problems with which Romania is currently confronted are the economic situation, the steadily rising prices and unemployment. From this perspective, the average Romanian expects the accession to the EU to combat poverty and unemployment. As for the fears felt by the Romanians in connection with the European accession, agriculture ranks on the first position with 28 per cent, followed by the higher taxes – 25 per cent. and the consumption of drugs – 20 per cent. The most significant loss of confidence in the EU was in the rural environment – by seven per cent, over only two per cent in the urban environment. In 2005, the confidence of the Romanians in institutions has decreased at the level of the political institutions, as follows: from 35 per cent to 23 per cent in Parliament; from 43 per cent to 30 per cent in Government; from 22 per cent to 12 per cent in the political parties. The downward variation of the percentages reflecting the confidence in institutions in Romania is constant, while in the EU it is characterised by stability. Romania also belongs to the group of countries with a national European orientation – 44 per cent of the Romanians say that they are equally proud of being Romanian and European. Asked about their political orientation, 26 per cent of the Romanians refuse to answer, while 40 per cent declare to be at the centre, 32 per cent to be at the left and only 28 per cent at the right.

This Eurobarometer has been the third for Romania, and the 64th at European level. It was made in the autumn 2005, under the coordination of Professor Dumitru Sandu, covering a number of 1,000 subjects from 28 European countries.

by Corvin Ariciuc