Cyprus Mail

Pessimism grows over EU, corruption and economy major concerns

Eighty per cent of Cypriots say they feel healthy

By Jean Christou

MORE than three quarters of Greek Cypriots blame Europe for austerity and in excess of two thirds disagree that the EU helps lower the cost of living in Europe, the latest Eurobarometer released yesterday showed.

But 87 per cent were in favour of stricter rules on tax evasion. Cyprus recorded the highest percentage of respondents – 72 per cent – who said they did not feel connected with the EU. Some 64 per cent said they did not feel European, while 93 per cent said they would like to see additional measures be taken to combat illegal immigration of people from third countries.

The Autumn barometer survey was carried out in November 2014.

It also showed that trust in Cypriot institutions was very low. Over 90 per cent of Cypriots do not trust political parties, 77 per cent do not trust parliament, 72 per cent do not trust the government, 70 per cent do not trust the legal system and 60 per cent do not trust the police.

The vast majority were also pessimistic about the situation in Cyprus and the EU in general and have become more skeptical about EU and government policies since the financial crisis.

Although 80 per cent responded that they were satisfied with their lives, 93 per cent of all those polled believe the island’s economy is in bad shape, the fourth highest figure after Greece’s 98 per cent, Spain’s 97 per cent, and Portugal’s 94 per cent. The EU average was 63 per cent.

Just over half of Cypriots said their household situation was good but they worried about the prospect of unemployment, while 47 per cent said their household situation was bad, compared to the EU average of only 19 per cent.

Over half believe their personal and financial situation will remain the same for the next 12 months, while 35 per cent think their personal financial situation will get worse. In fact, 65 per cent think that overall the worst is yet to come as far as the crisis in general is concerned, compared to 31 per cent who think that ‘slowly slowly’ things will get better.

The vast majority – 98 per cent – believe the country needs reforms to face the future and that measures cannot be delayed.

According to the survey on the Turkish Cypriot side, most people are also concerned about the economy and unemployment. Around half said they have difficulty paying their bills and 70 per cent of businesses were not doing well. Turkish Cypriots have a more positive view of the EU than their Greek Cypriot compatriots with over half sharing this view.

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