ÖGfE Survey: 1 year after the European Elections – Austrians value the European Parliament but have little knowledge about it

One year after the 2019 European Elections six out of ten respondents (62 percent) consider the work and tasks of the EU Parliament to be “very important” (20 percent) resp. “important” (42 percent). Around a third (32 percent) disagree (26 percent “rather not important” / 6 percent “not at all important”).* In recent years, a clear majority has always considered the work of the EU Parliament to be important. However, this number has decreased compared to the last survey in May 2015.

Just under three out of ten respondents (29 percent) say that they “very often” (5 percent) or “often” (24 percent) come across news or information about the EU Parliament in the media. However, this does not apply to more than two thirds of Austrians (68 percent) who “rarely” (35 percent) or “very rarely” (33 percent) register EP related news content in the media.* Media attention to the EU Parliament has visibly declined compared to previous ÖGfE surveys.

29 percent feel “very well” (3 percent) or “rather well” (26 percent) informed about the work and tasks of the European Parliament. 68 percent do not feel that way (46 percent “rather badly” / 22 percent “very badly informed”.) * Over the years, Austrians’ information level has remained constantly low.

Austrians are divided on the European Parliament’s influence on decisions in the European Union. 43 percent assume that the EU Parliament has “very high” (8 percent) or “rather high” influence (35 percent), 38 percent are sceptical (31 percent “rather low” / 7 percent “very low” influence). 18 percent cannot answer this question.** Compared to a 2018 ÖGfE survey there have been hardly any changes in opinion.

Since the last European elections, Austrians’ interest in “the work and tasks of the EU Parliament” has hardly increased. A tenth of respondents (10 percent) express more interest while a quarter (25 percent) say that their interest has decreased since May 2019. For the majority (57 percent), nothing has changed.* After the 2014 European elections, there was a similar trend in public opinion.

A third of the respondents (32 percent) have “very high” (9 percent) or “rather high” (23 percent) trust in the European Parliament when it comes to coping with the current Corona crisis. 57 percent however are not convinced (35 percent “rather low” / 22 percent “very low trust”) while 12 percent do not answer this question.

The current survey was conducted from 20 to 30 April 2020 by the Sozialwissenschaftliche Studiengesellschaft (SWS) on behalf of ÖGfE (Tel SWS 291). 508 persons were questioned via telephone (Austrian population from the age of 16 / weighted according to gender, age and education). Maximum margin of fluctuation approx. +/- 4,3 percent. *Difference to 100 percent due to rounded values. **Difference to 100 percent due to rounded values.