By Angelos Anastasiou
Almost 60 per cent of Cypriots say their financial situation is bad and 72 per cent believe it will get worse in the next 12 months, the latest Eurobarometer survey has found.
In a news conference on Wednesday, the European Commission’s representation in Cyprus presented the results of the Fall 2013 Eurobarometer survey, conducted last November with a sample of 1,000 interviewees – roughly 500 from each of the island’s two communities.
Only 42 per cent of Greek Cypriots polled say their household financial situation is good, while 27 per cent say their job situation is good, 39 per cent said theirs was bad, and 34 per cent said their job situation was uncertain.
Only 7.0 per cent believe their household’s financial situation will get better in the next 12 months while 19 per cent said it would stay the same.
When it came to jobs, 74 per cent believe the situation will get worse compared to only 5.0 per cent who believe it will get better.
Some 54 per cent of Greek Cypriots said they did not feel like an EU citizen compared to 46 per cent who said they did.
Over six in ten Greek Cypriots were also pessimistic with regard to the future of the European Union (EU), whereas the Turkish Cypriot community viewed the EU as the institution best-placed to deal with the financial crisis.
“The Eurobarometer records citizens’ attitudes towards the EU, as well as perceptions of its role in the financial crisis,” representation head George Markopouliotis said.
The survey findings indicate only 17 per cent of Greek Cypriots said they trusted the EU.
By contrast, 57 per cent of Turkish Cypriots respondents said that they “trust” the EU – overwhelmingly dwarfing the rate among EU citizens, measured at 31 per cent – and roughly one in four consider the EU “the best-able to take effective action against the effects of the financial and economic crisis.”
Unemployment and the state of the economy were the major issues commonly reported by both communities as the biggest challenges facing both, though the Turkish Cypriot community’s responses show greater variation than those of Greek Cypriots.
Greek Cypriots consider the EU as “responsible for austerity” to the tune of 77 per cent, higher than the EU average of 63 per cent, and almost seven out of ten think it creates “too much bureaucracy” – lower than the EU average, 74 per cent.
Asked to comment on the disparity between trust in the EU by Greek Cypriots – at 17 per cent – and Turkish Cypriots – at 57 per cent – Markopouliotis said that though trust in the EU is in fact low, national political parties, national parliaments and national governments fare even worse in terms of gaining people’s trust.
“It’s true that the numbers indicate high levels of mistrust and pessimism in the EU, but it must not escape us that citizens overwhelmingly believe that the EU with its current policies is better-placed to deal with the issues they rate as most important to them”, he said.