The future of Europe


The European Union and its member states have faced almost a decade of political tumult. If the EU is to move beyond crisis management towards political and economic renewal, a prerequisite is to understand better the foundation of public and ‘elite’ attitudes to the EU, and where these align and diverge. This paper is based on a unique survey conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 in 10 countries that polled two groups: a representative sample of 10,000 members of the public; and a sample of over 1,800 of Europe’s ‘elite’, individuals in positions of influence from politics, the media, business and civil society at local, regional, national and European levels. The data reveal a continent split along three lines. First, there is a divide between elites and the public. Second, within the public, there is a pronounced divide between more liberal and authoritarian-minded groups, particularly on issues of identity. Third, there is a lack of consensus among the elite on important questions about the EU’s direction.

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