25 Sep

Eurobarometer: european citizens see development cooperation as a means to address irregular migration

The latest Eurobarometer survey, that has released today, 25 September, shows that EU citizens increasingly view the private sector as having a greater role to play in international development, as well as seeing development cooperation as a means to address irregular migration.

“European citizens back our efforts to boost private investment in development cooperation, deliver gender equality and address the root causes of irregular migration. This shows that our proposal to deepen our economic relationship with Africa by focussing on private investment is on the right track with citizens. We should see this as a call to do more on development, and do it now”, said Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

Key findings

Strong overall support for development cooperation. 89% of those surveyed support helping people in developing countries. More people believe that financial cooperation should be increased now than in 2016. Over three-quarters of respondents in all EU Member States believe the EU should keep its promise on the amount of aid it gives to developing countries.

Gender equality a major priority. Support for addressing equality between women and men is even higher: nearly nine in ten respondents think it should be a priority in the EU’s development policy. More specifically, they want to see a focus on tackling violence against women and girls (78%), countering discrimination against women (63%), and providing women and girls with access to education (61%).

Addressing irregular migration. 7 out of 10 agree that providing financial assistance to developing countries is an effective way to address irregular migration. Compared to 2016, this view has gained support among people in 14 countries – especially in Malta, Greece and Bulgaria.

When asked to define the most pressing challenges for developing countries, the issues mentioned most frequently were peace and security (37%), education (35%) and health (33 %). Migration is listed as the 10th most pressing challenges (10%). These figures point to a stable overall trend since 2010.

On a personal level, more than half of Europeans feel they can make a difference to development as individuals – for instance, by giving money to non-profit organisations, making ethical choices when they shop, or doing voluntary work.

Asked if tackling poverty in developing countries should be an EU priority, respondents in 26 countries – and 7 in 10 Europeans overall – agreed that it should. Latvians and Estonians, meanwhile, appear more sceptical about development cooperation. Out of the EU 28, only the Czech Republic and Estonia don’t feel development policy is an effective way to tackle poverty in developing countries.

Click here to access country-specific factsheets in national languages for all EU Member States, infographics in all EU languages, factsheets on the overall EU results and youth as a focus group.

By: Estela Martín

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