Study reveals half of young Europeans are skeptical about democracy

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[Just half of Europeans aged 16-26 believe democracy is the best form of government. The figure was revealed in a survey that polled 6,000 young Europeans in seven countries. Click here to see the findings. *RON*]

Matt Zuvela, Deutsche Welle, 4 May 2017


The results of the and released Thursday, show that respondents from Germany and Greece were most in favor of democracy (62 and 66 percent), while France, Italy and Poland were the least convinced of its effectiveness (42, 45 and 42 percent).

Read: Democracy strong enough to deal with "fake news"

The study noted that the latter three countries had experienced a growth in populist movements. France sees a runoff vote this weekend to decide if Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate claiming she will protect France's national identity, will be its next president. However, polls predict Emmanuel Macron, a centrist candidate, is likely to claim victory.

The YouGov study, which was conducted between February 16 and March 3, surveyed 6,000 people aged 16-26 from Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain.

Distanced from the EU

Another finding from the study was that young people see the European Union more as an economic alliance (76 percent) than a grouping of nations with common cultural values (30 percent).

"A Europe whose value is seen, above all, in the advantages of the common market threatens to become interchangeable and arbitrary," said Thomas Ellerbeck, chair of the board of trustees at the TUI Foundation, in a statement on the foundation's website. "It is therefore important to discuss the shared values of Europe. Here all social actors are required, not just politicians."

In the seven countries polled, an average of one in five respondents said they were in favor of their country leaving the EU. This figure was highest in Greece (31 percent for leaving the EU) and lowest in Germany and Spain, where 12 percent would vote for an EU exit.

Read: Taking the pulse of youth culture

Greek respondents were most in favor of the EU returning some power to national governments, with 60 percent indicating they supported this idea. The average of those polled was 38 percent, while only 22 percent of Germans indicated they would want the EU to give up some power to national governments.

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