Eurobarometer on Lisbon agenda: Europeans see more investment in knowledge and innovation as key to higher growth

February 3, 2005

Brussels, 2 February 2005

Most citizens of the European Union consider that the current economic and social situation in their country is bad. In particular, three out of four citizens say that the employment situation in their country is "bad" compared with only 22% who take the opposite view. However, as far as the European economy is concerned, 49% of the respondents consider that the situation is good. At the same time, the study also shows that the European public opinion is ready for solutions in order to foster growth and address crucial issues like unemployment or the future of pensions. These are the result of a special Eurobarometer poll realised between the th of October and the 29th of November 2004 among a sample of nearly 25.000 persons.

Five years after its launch, numerous objectives of the Lisbon Strategy have still to be achieved. European Union citizens are aware of this.

Clearly the economic context, above all in the area of employment, is not favorable. Indeed, a large number of people interviewed are critical of their national economic situation. However, they seem to be less critical when assessing their own situation i.e. their quality of life. For instance, 81% of EU 25 respondents state they are confident in their ability to keep their job.

If respondents have a fairly accurate view of the economic reality in the EU, their knowledge of the European Union’s economic performance in relation to its main global competitors tends to be weak. One area of concern might be the fact that European citizens do not seem to clearly relate quality of life and economic performance. The main points of this Eurobarometer are the following:

  • 49% of European citizens consider that the situation of the European Economy is good. 37% take the opposite view.
  • However, a majority of respondents (around 4 out 10) say that the European Economy is performing worse than the American or Japanese one; 59% consider, on the contrary, that the European economy is performing better than the Indian economy and 42% share the same view when it comes to China.
  • For the next five years, 55% of the Union citizens are quite optimistic concerning the improvement of situation of the European economy; they are less confident concerning employment and social welfare situations at their country level
  • However, only 38% of EU citizens believe that the EU could become the world’s top economic power within the next five years.
  • The need for a knowledge-based economy is something relevant for a vast majority of European citizens: with 63% of answers, “improving education and professional training” represents the top priority in order to improve the performance of the European economy. “Invest in research and innovation” follows with 49% of citations.
  • The European Union is viewed as lagging behind Japan and the United States when it comes to the benefits gained from the developments of new information and communication technologies.
  • 43% agree with the idea that “we need immigrants to work in certain sectors of our economy” while 54% disagree.
  • One worker in two is aware of the need for training in order to progress in his/her career.
  • 73% of European citizens are not confident when it comes to the future of pensions. The most acceptable solution aimed at guaranteeing the financing of the pension system would be to increase contribution while maintaining the retirement age.
Technical notice: The special Eurobarometer n°215 was realised by TNS Opinion & Social between the th of October and the 29th of November 2004. 24.786 citizens of the European Union aged 15 and more have been surveyed in the 25 Member States.

The complete report of the survey is published today. All Eurobarometer polls are available on the website:

http:///europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/index_en.htm

Item source: IP/05/131 Date: 02/02/2005

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