Cyprus Mail

Immigration and economy: biggest concerns for Cypriots

Pournara migrant reception centre

Immigration and the economy are the biggest worries for around 40 per cent of Cypriots going into the EU elections while climate action, gender equality and diversity, and digitisation of the economy are bottom of the list of 13 potential concerns, the latest Eurobarometer revealed on Wednesday.

The special survey ahead of the European poll in June, showed that 55 per cent of Cypriots were interested in the elections and a significant 44 per cent who were not, slightly higher than the EU average of those who are disinterested.

Migration topped the list of concerns for immediate discussion for 41 per cent of Cypriots compared with only 24 per cent of Europeans on average. Cypriots were also more worried about the economy and jobs compared with their European counterparts with 40 per cent concerned compared with 31 per cent across the bloc.

Bottom of the list of concerns is the digitisation of the economy with only 5 per cent bothered at all about this issue. Gender equality and diversity also didn’t get much of a look in with only 6 per cent concerned about it, and on climate action, only 9 per cent of Cypriots cared about the issue.  Their European counterparts agreed on the former two issues, appearing only slightly more concerned but by comparison, 27 per cent of Europeans cared about climate action.

Cypriots were more concerned, after economy and migration, with fighting poverty and social inclusion, and public health with 38 per cent in both categories saying these were a worry for them compared to 33 per cent and 31 per cent of EU citizens on average.

On ‘the future of Europe’ only 15 per cent in Cyprus were worried about this compared with 26 per cent across the bloc.

At the same time 51 per cent of Cypriots said they were optimistic about the future of the EU while 45 per cent said they were pessimistic.  Some 18 per cent of Cypriots hold a negative view of the EU and 42 per cent see it as a positive, much in line with the bloc’s average.  However, 68 per cent admitted the country had benefited from membership even though 28 per cent said it had not. Both were close to the average.

The majority, 43 per cent, also expect their standard of living to drop in the coming five years while only 13 per cent see it getting better and 37 per cent seeing things as saying the same.

In a section related to what values the EU should defend in the future, the majority, 47 per cent cited ‘peace and security’ as the number one issue, followed by human rights and democracy, around 30 per cent, and respect for national identity 21 per cent.

Again on the other end of the scale, only 14 per cent saw gender equality as an EU value  to be defended, the same as the EU average.

Tolerance and diversity came in at 5 per cent as an issue of concern compared to 13 per cent across the EU, protection of minorities clocked in for only 9 per cent in Cyprus and 12 per cent in the EU while the right to seek asylum from persecution registered for only 3 per cent of Cypriots compared with 6 per cent of their EU counterparts.

The spring Eurobarometer was carried out by the research organisation Verian (formerly Kantar) between February 7 and March 3 in all 27 EU member states. In Cyprus, the survey was carried out from February 7 to 26 with personal interviews. A total of 500 interviews were conducted in Cyprus, and 26,411 interviews across the EU.


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