Young Europe 2018 – The Youth Study of TUI Foundation

TUI Foundation Youth Study 2018: Approval of Europe growing again/ Doubts about democratic institutions remain

-71 per cent of young Europeans would vote against leaving the EU in a referendum
-The fight against terrorism is seen as the EU’s most important task.
-Reducing social inequality is the most important national task
-Only one in three young Europeans trusts EU institutions – trade unions, churches and media perform even worse
-17 percent of respondents say that the political system in their own country functions as it should – almost one in two (45 percent) sees a need for reform
“-Junges Europa 2018 – Jugendstudie der TUI Stiftung” (Young Europe 2018 – Youth Study of the TUI Foundation) conducted by YouGov in seven EU countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Poland, Greece); 6080 young people between 16 and 26 years of age interviewed online

Hanover/Berlin, 03 May 2018 – The approval of young Europeans for the EU is growing again, their doubts about democratic institutions are strong. This is a key finding of the second European Youth Study carried out by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the TUI Foundation. Approval of the EU has increased in all the countries surveyed compared with 2017: If a referendum on the EU membership of the respective country were to be held tomorrow, 71 per cent of those questioned would vote against leaving, compared with only 61 per cent in 2017. In Germany the figure is as high as 80 percent (2017: 69 percent). Overall, the EU is perceived more positively. This is also reflected in the proportion of young Europeans who describe themselves exclusively as citizens of their home country. In 2018 it will be 34 percent, in 2017 it will be 42 percent. “The results of the study show that Europe is experiencing a comeback among young people. The Brexit has shaken us awake. We are again talking about strengths, opportunities and achievements. In a world that is in turmoil in many places, in which national isolation instead of cooperation is propagated as a solution, Europe is taking on a new shape and we are once again having real debates that can strengthen positive attitudes towards the EU,” comments Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the TUI Foundation. The study was presented on Thursday in Berlin by Elke Hlawatschek, Managing Director of the TUI Foundation.

Young Europeans: Combating terrorism in the EU is the most important task
The most important tasks for the next five years are the fight against terrorism (44 percent), environmental and climate protection (34 percent) as well as the regulation of immigration (33 percent). At the national level, promoting economic growth (39 per cent) and reducing social inequality (35 per cent) are the top priorities for young Europeans. The fight against terrorism is 29 percent. Young adults also see the support of education and science as a rather national task. 17 percent see this issue as an important task for the EU, 26 percent as an important task for their country. For young Germans, the promotion of new technologies, the Internet and digitisation are of great importance. For 21 percent, this is one of the three most important topics at EU level, and even for one in three (29 percent) at national level. This is the highest value in the comparison of the seven countries surveyed, in Spain the value lies between 7 (EU) and 5 percent (national).

Young adults distrust authorities and institutions
As support for the EU grows, young adults continue to distrust the authorities and institutions. Only one in three (33 percent) trust EU institutions such as the European Parliament or the EU Commission. In Germany, the figure is 37 percent. Trade unions, banks, churches and the media under public law as well as corporations are doing worse across Europe. The interviewees trust the scientists and scholars most (71 percent), as well as the police (52 percent) and the courts (39 percent). The political parties end up at the very end of the scale: In Germany, as in all other countries, young people believe least in the reliability of political parties, and parliament and government do not enjoy a high degree of trust either.

Young Europeans express a strong desire for political change: not even one in five (17 percent) believes that the political system in their respective countries functions as it should. Almost one in two (45 percent) thinks that the political system needs reform and another 28 percent believe that only radical change can “put things back in order”. While in Germany the proportion of young people who regard the political system as functioning is above average (39 percent), the proportion of those who advocate radical change is particularly high in Greece.