However, the correlation is not as strong as that with feelings and opinions about the recovery deal. The recovery deal appears to have gone down relatively poorly in Finland, Austria, and the Netherlands. As the most widespread concerns across all eight surveyed countries, these areas constitute a promising basis for policy that could win support from not just different parts of the electorate but also different EU member states.
These s are similar to those in Austria 13 per cent and the Netherlands 17 per centas well as in Germany 17 per cent and France 16 per centwith Poland an outlier on this issue 20 per cent. In a world in which the United States is engaged in a fierce competition with China and has stepped back from global leadership, European voters have shown they want the EU to throw its weight behind international institutions — to help ensure that there will be a level playing field on which to mitigate the global economic and health crisis, to shape the digital future, and to address the climate challenge.
This perception is also common in Austria, Finland, France, and Poland.
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These perceptions are common among supporters of all ruling parties in the frugal countries, aside from the OVP. Interestingly, in most surveyed countries, at least one-fifth of voters say that the recovery fund could be insufficient to address the crisis. Between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of voters in these countries do not express this view these s are even higher for Poland and France. In Corruption of champions transformative Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, the second most common concern is that, with the recovery fund, the EU is spending too much money.
This may point to a heightened sense of economic vulnerability in Austria, Finland, France, and Poland — with people in other surveyed countries believing that their economies are relatively resilient. In OctoberECFR commissioned Datapraxis and Dynata to carry out a survey exploring whether voters in the five frugal states feel that, after the deal on the recovery fund, they could still buy into and identify with the European project.
Nor is it the case in the Netherlands and Finland, where supporters of the VVP and the Social Democrats respectively are split on the issue. The corresponding s for the environmental transition are 17 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. Overall, surprisingly few voters say that the EU is spending too much.
This may be partly because, as non-members of the eurozone, the two countries are less concerned about the systemic effects of the crisis on the common currency. To be sure, this does not apply to every voter. This may be because their geographic position provides them with fewer opportunities for coalition-building. The survey also covered France, Germany, and Poland, for the sake of comparison. Nonetheless, at least 29 per cent of the population express positive feelings about the agreement optimism, relief, and enthusiasm in all the frugal states.
Anger is one of their main feelings about the deal, and the leading one among supporters of the Finns Party and the Sweden Democrats.
The transformative five: a new role for the frugal states after the eu recovery deal
The share of respondents who express this concern ranges from 30 per cent in Poland to 48 per cent in Austria. The financial crisis and the refugee crisis both triggered a strong nationalist backlash in Europe, with populist parties winning votes by arguing that EU institutions had failed voters. Voters in Sweden and Denmark, by contrast, express positive and negative feelings about the agreement in roughly equal measure. And at least 20 per cent believe that the EU makes a valuable contribution to European cooperation on justice, security, and counter-terrorism; the promotion of exports; and protecting them from war and conflict.
Their bigger concern appears to be about how other member states spend their share of the EU budget, with almost 40 per cent reporting concerns about financial waste and corruption in this.
Transformative items and exchanges
Meanwhile, the reverse is true in Finland, where the view that Corruption of champions transformative EU is spending too little money is among the most common answers among those who see the influence of their country as waning. But anger is far rarer among supporters of other parties in their countries. There is no similar dynamic in the frugal countries. In this sense, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron have good reason to be pleased with the result of the October survey. Corruption of champions transformative is not to say that voters in the frugal states have no regrets about the EU recovery deal.
The share of voters who hold this view ranges from 30 per cent to more than 50 per cent across these parties. These factors may also help explain their less negative reaction. But — surprisingly — this is not the case in Denmark, where those who voted for the Social Democrats recognise the waning power of the country perhaps due to a recent change of government. In these countries, the overall balance of positive and negative feelings about the deal is similar to that in France and Germany — despite the fact that some aspects of the agreement do not align with the supposed priorities of voters in the frugal states.
Populists — and the far right in particular — have tried to pin the blame for the spread of the pandemic on uncontrolled globalisation, and have called for a nation-first response. This indicates that their citizens — like those of other member states — understand that the EU matters in dealing with global issues that affect their lives, such as trade, conflict, and counter-terrorism.
Supporters of ruling parties tend to display the most positive feelings about the recovery deal — which is understandable, given that these parties played a role in negotiating the agreement. Despite their worries about waste and corruption linked to the recovery fund, most Europeans do not say that the EU should spend less. EU institutions would do well to include these areas on their policy agenda and in their communication in the coming years.
In contrast, those who believe that the influence of their country is waning are most likely to believe that the EU is spending too much. But, in the Netherlands and Austria, voters are split on whether the influence of their country in the EU has increased or decreased during the pandemic. Sweden and Denmark are the only outliers, at 12 per cent each.
Almost eight in ten respondents in the frugal states did not agree with the statement that, with the recovery fund, the EU is spending too much money. To become the transformative five, the frugal states first need to convince voters at home that they are influential in EU decision-making and that this process produces outcomes that are in the national interest. Covid might still lead to gains for populists in the long term.
Many EU watchers have debated whether the covid recovery package is an institutional step towards a federal union. Such drift would have a profound effect on the nature of the European project. There is little doubt that voters in the frugal states regard the recovery package as far from ideal. Leaders in these countries should not misread such behaviour as a that they would prefer to leave the EU altogether, as the British chose to do.
All these approaches would help them reassert their influence in the EU. The budgetary negotiations were an ambiguous experience for them. They have taken on even greater responsibility in these areas since the Brexit referendum.
The Finns Party and the Sweden Democrats can rely on a stable 20 per cent. They have mixed feelings about the recovery deal — with Finland the only frugal state in which as much as 50 per cent of voters express negative emotions about it anger, frustration, and worry. In the five frugal countries, 30 per cent of these voters appreciate the freedom to live in and travel to other member states.
In light of this, one might expect voters in all the frugal countries to express a powerful sense of lost influence in the EU. This is clearly the case in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
But, just beneath the surface, there is another strand of public discourse on the EU that may have greater long-term ificance for the European project. The frugal states have not been swept up in negative feelings about the recovery package even if media coverage across Europe in late summer might have suggested otherwise.
In these countries, between 42 per cent and 50 per cent of voters say that the recovery deal primarily inspires anger, frustration, or worry in them, while less than one-third emphasise optimism, relief, or enthusiasm.
This is only just short of the proportion of Germans who hold this view 40 per cent. Again, this trend is stronger in the frugal countries than in France, Germany, or Poland. One area in which these voters have a strong appetite for progress at the European level is in tackling financial waste and corruption, particularly in the use of EU funds.
The difference between the two groups is considerably smaller in France, Germany, and Poland. The exception is Austria, where 14 per cent of respondents hold this view — compared to 16 per cent in France. In general, the recovery package receives a more positive reception from those who believe that the influence of their country is increasing perhaps because this belief boosts their confidence in the deal. The right policies and the right messaging can keep them on board. If one assumes that Brexit played a vital role in making the frugal states feel less influential in the EU, then the Scandinavians appear to have coped less well with the situation than their Dutch and Austrian peers have.
The governments of the frugal states are not only characterised by their risk-aversion in the expenditure of EU resources. The frugal states were largely successful in defending their rebates and pushing Corruption of champions transformative the proportion of grants to loans in the recovery fund. However, voters in all three have ificant concerns about wasted expenditure. One in four recognises the economic opportunities and benefits of the single market. It will be hard to convince voters in frugal states that their countries are still influential — and that EU membership is worth the price — if national narratives about the bloc continue to focus on narrowly defined economic interests.
One of the key challenges governments of the frugal states face is in continuing to protect European and national interests simultaneously. It argues that, far from the frugal states being lost to the European project after the recovery deal, all is still to play for in making their voters feel that the EU is developing in line with their interests.
But it is not as common as the view that there may be insufficient money in the recovery fund to stop a damaging recession and prepare healthcare systems to combat the pandemic.
What is corruption of champions, the popular adult adventure game?
In the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden, populist parties lost some of their appeal during the first wave of the pandemic — but they have recovered since then and are currently on the rise. This may be because the pandemic has hit France harder than the other countries in the survey, in both health and economic terms.
Many EU Corruption of champions transformative felt vulnerable in the early stages of the covid crisis as their countries turned inwards, with national healthcare systems struggling to find the resources they needed to fight the disease, and lockdowns leading to shortages of essential goods.
They can do so by focusing on how member states spend EU funds, and by building the kind of EU that their voters want to see. But, though the frugal states secured national rebates for themselves, the deal on the EU recovery package they helped finalise on 21 July did not adhere to all their principles of financial prudence.
In particular, the European Council agreed to large-scale EU borrowing on the markets to finance the fund, and to new EU money, more than 40 per cent of it in the form of grants. The new survey ECFR conducted in October suggests that the citizens of the frugal countries are not immune to this trend. And this tendency is particularly marked in the frugal countries. In Poland, more than half of respondents express positive feelings — mostly optimism — about the fund, while only 17 per cent express worry, frustration, or anger.
There are ificant differences between surveyed countries in the other concerns that voters express most often. Public sentiment presents them with an opportunity to reposition themselves as an engine of EU transformation. However, their leaders were not hailed as heroes in the domestic press. While the former are net creditors to the EU budget, the latter has historically been among the greatest beneficiaries of European funds and is set to become the fourth-biggest recipient of the recovery grants after Italy, Spain, and France.
New transformation items?
The frugal states maintained a firm position and even began to shape the discussion. And, overall, there is a stark contrast between emotional reactions in the frugal states and those in Poland. Citizens of the frugal states are not, in fact, frugal in the purest sense of the word. In the following months, as the coronavirus hit, states across the EU felt a growing need for support from the shared budget.
In addition, the frugal states must recognise that they are unlikely to be as influential in EU negotiations over other matters as they were over the budget. This is true of two-thirds of that group in Finland and 60 per cent in Austria. And, contrary to stereotypes, this goes well beyond economics. The radical right is doing less well in Austria and Denmark, but this may be partly because it is regrouping, with rival Eurosceptic initiatives trying to attract voters from more established parties. There are subtle differences within the frugal group on the emotional front.