EU citizens want a say on fundamental issues

17.05.2022 | Urs Bieri, GFS Bern

A Europe-wide survey by gfs.bern shows that EU citizens would have voted in favour of an expansion of Frontex following a campaign backed up by sound arguments. This result reveals a content-based decision-making maturity comparable with the situation in Switzerland regarding the same proposal.

In the European environment, direct democracy is often viewed with a certain amount of suspicion. The spectre of populistically charged gut decisions and politically disenchanted acts of revenge at the ballot box is regularly conjured up. These fears are not only regularly refuted by pragmatic Swiss decisions on the merits, they are also not at the centre of attention when looking at EU voters.

A Europe-wide survey by gfs.bern, commissioned by Meisser economics and conducted in cooperation with the Foundation for Direct Democracy, shows impressively that EU citizens are quite capable of arriving at a substantive opinion based on an argumentative discourse. An expansion of Frontex, as voted on in Switzerland, would also have a majority in all EU countries studied. Decisions are made by weighing up the costs and the relevance of Frontex for their own security. Ethical concerns play less of a role, and public criticism of Frontex was not perceived by the majority.

EU citizens from all countries would like to see more direct democracy in political decisions. In view of the maturity of decisions observed in a hypothetical Frontex referendum, there is little to prevent this. More information can be found in the final report (in German).

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Urs Bieri

Urs Bieri