SPANIARDS PERCEPTION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

The relationship between Spain and Europe comes back from the last centuries. But recently, Spain joined the European Union since its integration in 1986. In the present time, this country after 39 years under Franco’s Dictatorship has changed economically, politically and socially.

Along these years, Spaniards feel that Europe is a huge step to reach freedom, economic advantages and a better democracy. Contrary to Spaniards thinking, the crisis that affects Europe has formed an anti-European feeling over the few last years. In France, Holland, U.K and Greece political parties have emerged with an anti-European ideology with an important electoral support looking ahead the next election to the European Parliament.

Spain at the moment don’t have experience in this issue. The most important political parties are pro-Europe and Spaniards are still supporting the construction of a united Europe. Surveys such as Eurostat are made by media corporations who agreed the idea of developing an European identity inside the Spanish society.

A small survey done for this article show if this affirmation is true. The method was inquiring about aspects like integration of new countries into Europe and the future of the European Union as a whole. This survey was sent by e-mail and published in forums of debate in newspapers and Facebook and answered by over 100 users in the surveymonkey.com webpage. It shows a big similarity in some questions with official surveys published by media  but this results apply to tested methods used by surveys to gather information.

The first question about political measures done by EU, showed that 87,76% of people are against these and 6,12% support the economic and social strategies of the European Union. This percentage is extremely high because political administration endorsement over last few years has strongly diminished. The increase of poverty, unemployment and huge cases of corruption make political institutions unreliable. In fact, a study made by the European Comission reveal that 95% of spaniards have the opinion that Spain is a corrupt country.

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The second question is about the integration of new countries in the EU. Europe tries to integrate eastern countries into Europebut Russia disagrees. Ukraine is a clear example of this fight between West and Russia. The ex-soviet republic is very close to reach civil war because the new government wants to integrate in the European Union. But, what do Europeans think in this situation? Also a portion of Europeans don’t agree to expand their borders more than the traditional border. In this survey, over 100 Spaniards are still supporting the integration of new countries regardless of the crisis in the economy and institutions in Europe (51,55% approve the EU integration and 34,02% doesn’t approve).

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The study also inquires about the possibility to create a unique “European country” and administration. If this measure was approved, a new big federation will have exclusive competences transferred by European countries. This concept is supported by some groups, but is not popular between governments and politicians. This survey showed that 42,42% agreed to create a new status quo for Europe, 35,35% don’t agree and 16,16% don’t express their opinion on this matter. This result shows that a big percentage of Spaniards agreed the concept of the creation of a unique European Country but also 35,35% are against this measure and 16,16% don’t express their opinion.

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The last two questions are focused on the next European Parliament elections on May and the identity of Spaniards.

The next elections in the European Parliament are important because this institution decisions will have high impact in the future, nevertheless European people doesn’t share big interest in this matter. Some countries, such as Eslovaquia, are example of the lack of interest of general population in politics with a small participation in the European elections of 2009:  19,64% of the population voted in this election. Related to the present question, over 100 users express their intention to vote in the next elections. 61,62% of the population will go to vote, 26,26% will not go to vote and 11,11% don’t know at the moment. In 2009, 44,90% of Spaniards went to vote,  so probably this percentage will be repeated on May. Gráfico 4 If the question were about a mix of population emotional state and the identity issue? To ask how users feel about their identity, there is a common notion: Spaniards according to other surveys feel Europe as part of their identity, around 89% have an European feeling.

I feel just Spaniard                           5,49%

I feel more Spaniard than European           35,16%

I feel Spaniard and European          46,15%

I feel more European than Spaniard or just feel European          7,69%

I feel just european                   1,10%

Don’t know           4,41%

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In general, Spanish people spot Europe as a wake-up call to leave their current economic crisis. Europe has this significance in terms of political and economical point of view. The liberty to move between the countries of the European Union, the same currency and the possibility to search of better jobs and salaries. In aspects of culture and nationality, the European Union is still far to achieve the creation of a unique strong European Cultural Identity that establish and strengthen the progress achieved in the politics and economics.

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