Public trust in the European Union among the people of Malta has plunged significantly since last November, a new Europe-wide survey has revealed.
While 53% of Malta’s respondents declared they trust the EU during last November’s Eurobarometer survey, only 45% said likewise last summer.
And although this trust rating is still two points above the EU average, it represents a decline of eight percentage points since last autumn, the third sharpest decline across the continent behind only Italy (-10 percentage points) and Bulgaria (-12 percentage points).
It is the largest trust plunge in the EU since the period between spring and autumn 2015 when Malta’s trust rating dipped from 62% to 46% during a period characterised by a continent-wide migration crisis.
And when asked whether the EU conjures up a positive or negative image for them, only 25% of Maltese respondents said they had a positive point of view of it, the lowest percentage across the entire continent and a huge decline of 16 percentage points since last autumn.
Also, only 41% of Maltese respondents said they are satisfied by the way democracy works in the EU, the lowest score behind Greece and a seven-point decline since autumn 2019.
Compared with other institutions, public trust in the EU lags behind the government (58%) and local authorities (60%), is on par with Parliament (45%), and ahead of the justice system (45%), “the media” (21%), and political parties (15%).
Immigration is still our top concern by a clear mile despite COVID-19 crisis.
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 crisis has greatly increased concern among the Maltese population about healthcare and the nation’s economic situation.
Asked what the two most important issues facing Malta are, health was mentioned by 25% of respondents (up from 2% last autumn), while the economic situation was mentioned by 18% of respondents (up from 4% last autumn).
However, both these figures pale in comparison with the nation’s concern at immigration, which was listed as a top concern by 58% of respondents.
Despite this concern dipping by seven percentage points since last autumn, Malta registers the greatest concern at immigration out of all EU countries by far. To put it in perspective, the second-highest concern rate at immigration was registered by Greece (33%) and the third by Cyprus (29%).
Elsewhere, 17% of Maltese respondents listed inflation and cost of living as a top concern, 14% listed the environment and climate change, and 7% listed crime and housing.
The Eurobarometer survey was published this month to assess EU public opinion between July and August. The Malta-specific survey was carried out by MISCO International among 502 respondents between10th and 30th July.
What do you make of these survey findings?