EU chaos: Brussels branded 'irrelevant' by majority after 'failing' its citizens in poll

The European Council on Foreign Relations think tank found 46 percent of 11,000 EU citizens surveyed from Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden believe Brussels did not live up to its responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic. While 47 percent believe the EU is “irrelevant”. Ursula von der Leyen was also called out by two-third of Italians and 61 percent in France for “failing” its citizens.

The authors behind the poll have described the disillusionment as “disturbing”.

They noted the crisis has led to a rise in nationalist Euroscepticism and pro-European Federalism.

They said: “We can see that people in all surveyed member states believe the EU responded poorly to the crisis – with majorities in all countries saying that the EU did not rise to the challenge. This includes 63 percent in Italy and 61 percent in France.

“In a separate question, we asked whether respondents’ attitudes towards EU institutions had worsened during the crisis.

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“Majorities in Italy, Spain, and France confirmed that it had (58 per cent, 50 per cent, and 41 per cent respectively).

“Perhaps more worrying than the large numbers who say the EU performed badly are the even larger numbers who say the EU has been irrelevant.

“In every country, more people believe this than believe the opposite – for example, more than half of respondents in France believe that the EU has been irrelevant.”

It comes as European Union countries failed to settle on Friday on a final “safe list” of countries whose residents could travel to the bloc from July, with the United States, Brazil and Russia set to be excluded.

The European Commission had advised that the bloc first lift internal border controls and then gradually open up to outsiders. However, the first step has not gone according to plan.

Greece is mandating COVID-19 tests for arrivals from a range of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until results are known.

The Czech Republic has said it will not allow in tourists from Portugal, Sweden and part of Poland.

There is broad agreement that the bloc should only open up to those with a similar or better epidemiological situation, but there are questions about how to assess a country’s handling of the epidemic and the reliability of data.

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