Slightly more than a third of EU citizens say that they are certain to go to the polls in elections for the European Parliament in May, and the share of Croatians who are most likely to go to the polls is a mere 17%, shows a Eurobarometer survey published on Thursday.
Elections for the European Parliament will be held from 23 to 26 May, and the results of the spring Eurobarometer survey, released one month ahead of the elections, show that a large portion of EU citizens are yet to be convinced to go to the polls.
Considering the political context and uncertainty related to Brexit, the survey brings average data for 27 EU member states while data for the United Kingdom are shown separately.
The results show that as many as 61% of Europeans believe EU membership is a good thing, while only 10% believe it is not, which is the best result in more than 25 years. Most EU citizens, or 68%, believe that their country benefits from EU membership while 62% of Croatians think so.
When asked how they would vote if a referendum on leaving the EU were to be held tomorrow, 68% of Europeans said they would vote to stay, as did slightly more than 50% of Croatians.
Compared to the autumn Eurobarometer survey, when 53% of UK citizens were in favour of staying in the EU, now 45% want to stay, while the percentage of those who would support Brexit in case of a second referendum has increased slightly, from 35% to 37%.
Thirty-five percent of EU citizens are certain to vote in the May elections. In Croatia, 17% are most likely to vote and 16% are likely to vote while 50% say they will most likely not go to the polls on May 26. Forty-four percent of Europeans say the main reason for going to the polls is their civic duty to vote.
Most young voters in the EU, or 74%, have a positive opinion of the EU but only one in five is certain to go to the polls.
The turnout in the last elections for the European Parliament in Croatia, in 2014, was 25% and the rate among young people was only 13%.
EU topics, course matter to citizens
The Eurobarometer survey shows that the five key topics for Europeans in the election campaign are economy and growth, combating youth unemployment, immigration, combating climate change and protecting the environment and global terrorism.
The survey also shows that one in two Europeans believes that the direction in which the EU is going is wrong.
In early April, a phone survey, so-called Flash Eurobarometer, commissioned by the European Parliament, was conducted as well.
Its results show that 80% of Europeans believe that what brings them together is more important than what separates them, an opinion held also by 76% of Croatian respondents.
Fifty-five percent of Europeans feel hope and confidence when they think of the EU, while one in three respondents covered by the survey feels doubts. In Croatia, 36% of respondents feel hope when thinking about the EU.
As for political engagement in the past month, eight in ten respondents say that they discussed political topics with their family members, friends and acquaintances at least once.
Seventy-two percent followed political programmes on TV.
The spring Eurobarometer survey was conducted by the Kantar Public agency in the period from February 19 to March 4 on a representative sample of respondents aged over 15.
In Croatia, 1,007 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, the European Parliament Office in Croatia said.