Combating climate change should be Parliament’s top priority, new Eurobarometer reveals, highlighting youth-led climate protests as great influencers.
“Combating climate change and preserving our environment, oceans and biodiversity” should be the European Parliament’s (EP) biggest priority, EU citizens say in a new Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the EP and conducted in October 2019.
Climate change was already one of the leading reasons for voting in the European elections last May, especially for young people. Now, for the first time, citizens are putting climate change at the top of a Eurobarometer priority list.
In total, 32% of Europeans point towards the fight against climate change and preserving the environment as the most important issue for MEPs to address. It is the most mentioned item in 11 member states, especially in Sweden (62%), Denmark (50%) and The Netherlands (46%).
The Eurobarometer survey also asked respondents which environmental concern is the most pressing. An absolute majority of Europeans (52%) believe that it is climate change, followed by air pollution (35%), marine pollution (31%), deforestation and the growing amount of waste (both 28%).
Parliament President David Maria Sassoli, (S&D, IT), who arrives in Madrid on Monday to attend the opening of the UN COP25 climate change conference, said: “This survey shows very clearly that Europeans want action from the EU on combatting climate change. Yesterday in Strasbourg, the European Parliament approved a resolution declaring a climate and environmental emergency in Europe and globally. We are listening to our citizens and stressing the need to move beyond words to action”.
Over the course of the past year, youth-led protests have mobilised millions of people in the EU and globally.
This new Eurobarometer survey shows that close to six out of ten European citizens are confident or convinced that youth-led protests have a direct impact on policy at both national and European level.
The Irish (74%), Swedes (71%) and Cypriots (70%) are most convinced that the protests will lead to political measures being taken at EU level, compared to 42% of Czechs and 47% of UK citizens.