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Cypriots want EP to safeguard democracy

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Cypriots believe defending democratic values should be the European Parliament’s top priority, according to EP Autumn 2021 Eurobarometer published Tuesday.

In Cyprus, 89% said they would like to see the EP play a more important role.

A third of respondents in the EU (32%) see democracy as the most important value to defend, followed by freedom of speech and thought (27%) and the protection of human rights (25%).

In terms of policy priorities, Europeans put public health first with 42%, followed by poverty and social exclusion (40%) and climate change (39%).

There is continued strong public support for the European Parliament, with 58% backing a more important role for it in the future.

The survey was carried out between 1 November and 2 December 2021 in all 27 EU Member States.

A total of 26,510 citizens over 15 participated, including 504 Cyprus citizens.

In Cyprus, 33% of those asked had a positive image of the EP, while 53% were neutral and 12% a negative image.

Some 37% of Cypriots said that protection of human rights are values the EU should fight for, and 31% chose democracy and the rule of law.

The fight against climate change (39%) retains its position among the absolute top priorities for Europeans.

Public health leads with 42%, followed by the fight against poverty and social exclusion (40%), while climate change is the most important issue for younger respondents.

The more people know about the workings of the EU and its institutions, the more they feel empowered to support the European Parliament as the heart of European Union democracy.

And 61% of Cypriots said public health should be a top priority in the EU, 50% back the fight against poverty and social exclusion and 46% support the economy and new jobs.

In Cyprus, 52% said the country’s EU membership was a good thing, 38% were neutral, and 71% said that Cyprus has benefited from being a member.

Moreover, the majority in Cyprus said they would like to know how EU funds are allocated (63%) and learn about their rights as EU citizens (58%).

The Eurobarometer shows that young citizens are optimistic about the future of Europe – and together with climate change, see it as a top priority for the EP.

Young people are also more satisfied with democracy in the EU.

Positive attitudes towards the bloc have been strengthened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eurobarometer data shows a stable appreciation of the EU by its citizens, with several indicators showing a significant positive development throughout the pandemic.

Europeans agree to a large degree that their country has benefitted from being a member of the EU (72%).

Asked why their country has benefitted, most cited improved cooperation (32%), followed by the EU’s contribution to their country’s economic growth and maintaining peace and strengthening security (30%).

Europeans largely follow politics, but 58% said they want to know more.