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Only 30 per cent trust government to properly use EU funds

Nine out of ten Cypriots believe that the EU should only fund member states that respect the rule of law and democratic principles, a Eurobarometer survey published on Friday revealed.

A total of 26,459 Europeans were interviewed online for the survey, which was conducted between August 17 and 25 in anticipation of next week’s EU plenary session where Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will make a State of the Union address.

Each member state contributed about 1,000 interviews, with the exception of Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta, whose smaller size called for a smaller sample of 500 interviews. In Cyprus 518 members of the public were interviewed.

Cyprus was the second EU member state to express confidence in the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, with almost 80 per cent of interviewees saying that they believed it can help the country overcome the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and prepare it for future challenges. The EU27 average is 60 per cent.

However, only 30 per cent said they trust the government to properly use EU funds, as opposed to the EU27 average of 44 per cent. Only seven per cent said they have total trust in the government, while 63 per cent disagreed.

Across the EU, 85 per cent agreed that transparency and effective controls are necessary for the use of these funds, with 93 per cent of Cypriots agreeing.

In addition, 77 per cent of Europeans and 84 per cent of Cypriots agreed that local authorities and civil society should be involved in consultations on how to use EU funds.

Cypriots were among EU member states with the highest support for respect for human rights and the rule of law being conditions for receiving EU funding, with 95 per cent saying that the basic principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law should be a priority in relations with countries such as the US, China, Russia and Turkey. The EU27 average was 85 per cent.

As regards Covid-19, asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 how worried they are about their household’s financial future, Cypriots scored an average of 6.8 with the EU27 average at 5.3.

Around 60 per cent of Cypriots were satisfied with the government’s handling of vaccinations (50 per cent EU27 average), 63 per cent were similarly satisfied with the EU’s handling of vaccinations (49 per cent EU27 average), and 61 per cent happy with the solidarity shown between member states (53 per cent EU27 average).

Moreover, 83 per cent believed the EU played a key role in vaccine accessibility in their country.

In general, 63 per cent of Cypriots and 53 per cent of Europeans said they had a positive image of the EU.

Asked what priorities they think the European Parliament should focus on, Cypriots answered tackling poverty and social exclusion (50 per cent), the economy and job creation (43 per cent), climate change (39 per cent), human rights (31 per cent), equality and the rule of law (25 per cent) and immigration (23 per cent).

By comparison, in Europe on average, climate change came first with 43 per cent, poverty with 32 per cent, economy and crime/terrorism with 31 per cent, public health with 27 per cent, immigration with 27 per cent and human rights with 24 per cent.

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