European attitudes towards environment

A year ago already, the EU published an interesting document on the attitudes of the EU27 about environmental matters. It is called the Special Eurobarometer 365. These reports are based on

“in-depth thematical studies carried out for various services of the European Commission or other EU Institutions and integrated in Standard Eurobarometer’s polling waves”

I learned about the study following an academic discussion on Finnish attitudes towards NGO and environmental organisations, and was totally flabbergasted by the results of the comparative report across the 27 nation states. The Finns stand out as being far less interested in environmental protection, for instance, and feel less able to influence environmental matters than most of their peers in other countries, including the other Nordic countries in the survey (Denmark and Sweden). My “favorite” map depicts the public agreement with the following statement:

“The protection of the environment can boost economic growth in the EU”

Finns have the lowest rank, only 70% agree, and since the last survey in 2007 the percentage has actually decreased (!!) – the only country to do so, in addition to France, which despite this has a higher in favor -score.

A colleague stipulated that the reason for the Finns to find ‘slacking’ to be acceptable could be the strong state ‘apparatus’, supposedly meaning support and environmental governance in place. However, when comparing against other Nordic countries with similar climate, environment and health standards, I cannot but be surprised.

I am currently working on a couple of projects where we try to utilise environmental perception data, and the results of this report just reinforce my belief in that that is absolutely necessary. It is pivotal to include public opinion in order to better understand the complex relationship between quality of life, quality of environment, and possibilities for future action. Since action, after all, is dependent on political will, and that in turn is strongly influenced by voters’ interests and willingness to comply.

The full report is accessible here:

Eurobarometer 365

Leave A Comment