Shifting EU Priorities

Policy priorities for constituent countries of the European Union seem to be changing rapidly according to a recent survey conducted by Pew Research. Ten EU countries were asked a variety of questions about possible international concerns. Specifically, the questions probed respondents to gauge their respective countries’ perceived threat from various sources like climate change, cyber attacks, and ISIS.




The survey was conducted twice, once in Spring 2013 and again in 2016. Eight potential threats were addressed in the survey questions. The results below make it clear that among the eight threats, ISIS was viewed as the most dangerous to countries. An approximate mean of 70% of respondents from every country surveyed stated that ISIS is their predominant threat. We can see that Spain and France were two of the most concerned nations in this regard. This is understandable in the case of France as just over one year ago a deadly and horrific terrorist attack hit the capital of Paris. This tragedy occurred mere months before this particular survey was conducted.

The secondary threat to participating countries is global climate change. Over half of all countries’ respondents agreed that climate change is deeply troubling, with polls in Greece and Spain reporting the greatest numbers. The proportion of each country which felt climate change was a “major threat” in Spring 2013 rose in all countries when the same question was asked again in the Spring 2016 survey. However, every country surveyed, with the exception of economically-troubled Greece, agreed that ISIS was more of a “major threat” to their country than global climate change. Seemingly, we are seeing a shift in priorities of EU member states in light of the uptick in deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated over the past calendar year. We can most certainly expect to see policy changes to reflect these shifting priorities, but let us hope that our global climate is not placed on the back burner.

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http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/06/13/europeans-face-the-world-divided/
Anna Graff

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