The 1st event of VotEU Project took place in Perosa Argentina, a village that lies among the piedmontese mountains near the city of Turin. A public debate took place on Saturday, February 9th, with the participation of citizens, students, expert from Focus Europe and the local organization CREA.
After an introduction on the EU and the forthcoming election, in order to stimulate the debate we asked the audience to answer 10 questions concerning the perception of citizens on the EU, the relationship between the Italian Government and European Institutions and the main priority to be addressed by the next European Parliament.
The public was composed by 40 people, aged between 20 and 60, with different educational and working background.
First of all, we asked the audience whether Italy has advantages from being a EU member. The 86,7% of the respondent said that the advantages are greater than the disadvantages, while the 13,3% said that advantages and disadvantages are equivalent.
The second question was about the importance of voting at the European election. The 67,7% of the respondent said that is important because they want to give their opinion on the next composition of the European Parliament. The 29% said that is a duty as a citizen, while 3,2% agreed that is a combination of the two precedent answer.
We asked then the audience if, according to their opinion, the new political movement that are gaining consensus in Europe (in particular Lega and Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy) can give a strong contribution in changing the assets in Europe. For the 64,5% of the public there is a risk that the new movements changes Europe for the worse. The 25,8% agreed that things would not change even if they gain more consensus, while the 6,2% said that they can change things for the best.
We asked the public if they agree in saying that the citizens voice is take into account by the EU Institutions: 74,2% said yes, 16,1% said no, while 6,4% didn’t had an opinion on the matter yet.
We asked then if the voice of the Italian Government is take into account by the EU Institutions. The 61,3% said yes, the 9,7% said no, while the rest of the respondent gave different answers: “the current Italian government has little credibility at international level” (9,6%); “I hope not” (3,2%); “Partially” (9,6%); “I have some doubt” (3,2%).
Whit the next three questions, we asked the audience to indicate which of the given topic should be address by the next EU Parliament as a top three priority. The topic proposed were migration, unemployment, economic growth, climate change, security and terrorism, social protection of the poorest population, civil rights.
The answer were quite fragmented, with a minimum gap between one topic and another.
The top priority topic chosen by the public was “civil rights” (26,7%), followed by “migration” and “economic growth” (both at 20%).
As the second priority topic, 20% of the respondent indicated “social protection of the poorest population”, while another 20% indicated “civil rights”.
In the third priority place 20% of the public indicated “climate change”, another 20% choosed “migration”, while another 20% indicated “unemployment”.
In relation to the answers provided previously we asked then
the audience if, according to their opinion, the EU should intervene more by providing common regulation. The 80% of the respondent said yes, while the 20% said that in some subjects it should intervene more while in others it should leave the decision to the national Governments.
Lastly, we asked the public to give their opinion on the ongoing Brexit process. The exit of UK from the EU would be a bad thing for the great majority of the respondent (90%) and will bring disadvantages for everyone. For some, it is difficult to make evaluation at this stage (3,2%). Another 3,2% said that “it is likely to be the first step towards a disintegration of Europe”, while according to another 3,2% “surely the UK representatives have done their own evaluations to get to a similar decision”.