BRUSSELS - Cypriots are increasingly optimistic about the future of the European Union, despite being hit by the economic crisis, according to the results of a Eurobarometre survey released Monday.
Less than two weeks ahead of the European Parliament elections, a Special Eurobarometre survey "Europeans 2014" carried out in March shows that optimism and trust are on the rise, with Cypriots feel more strongly that the EU is overcoming the crisis and that they can have a say in the EU.
According to the findings, the strongest rise in optimism was recorded in Cyprus which rose by 23 percentage points to 34% since the last survey, as respondents feel that the impact of the crisis on jobs has already reached its peak.
On the other hand, 63% of Cypriots feel that the worst is yet to come, marking however a considerable drop (-24pp) in comparison to 87% in autumn 2013.
Meanwhile, over 44% of Europeans (+4pp) think that the worst impact of the crisis on jobs is behind them, compared to 40% in autumn 2013 and 23% in autumn 2011.
In contrast, 47% believe that the worst is still to come, down from 50% in the Standard Eurobarometre survey of autumn 2013 or 68% in autumn 2011.
Cypriots listed the economic situation (76%) and unemployment (75%) as the most important issues facing the country at the moment, while unemployment (44%) and rising prices/inflation (38%) were the two most important issues they faced on a personal level.
Cypriots listed free movement of people, goods and services as the most positive result of EU membership (63%), followed by peace among member states (55%) and student exchange programmes such as Erasmus (33%).
Nevertheless, 63% of Cypriots respondents said that member states were ‘distant’ in terms of shared values, marking a 21% increase since autumn 2013.
Human rights, peace and democracy were listed by Cypriots as the top three values that best represent the EU.
Commenting on life in Cyprus, 86% of respondents said that the state intervenes too much in their lives and 94% said that there is too much tolerance and criminals should be punished more severely.
Only 29% of Cypriots feel that immigrants contribute a lot to the country.
The findings also showed that Cypriots do not tend to trust the European Union (74%), the Cypriot Parliament (83%) or the government (74%).