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The rising cost of living is the most pressing concern for 93 percent of Europeans, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey for the European Parliament, published today.

Meanwhile, support for the EU remains stable and high, with citizens expecting the union to continue working on solutions to mitigate the effects of the series of successive crises.

In every EU Member State, more than seven in ten respondents are concerned about the rising cost of living, with the highest scores in Greece (100 per cent), Cyprus (99 per cent), Italy and Portugal (both at 98 per hundred). 

In Bulgaria, the share of respondents who are worried about the rising cost of living approaches the highest levels at 96 percent.

The increase in prices, including energy and food, is felt in all socio-demographic categories such as gender and age, as well as in all educational and socio-professional groups. 

The threat of poverty and social exclusion is second most frequently mentioned at European level with 82 percent, followed by climate change and the risk of war spreading to Ukraine and other countries, which are in third place with 81 percent.

Bulgarian respondents also indicated in second and third place the threat of poverty and social exclusion and the danger of the war in Ukraine spreading to other countries, with 86 percent and 85 percent, respectively, while the threat of climate change remained behind with 69 percent. hundred.

Citizens expect the EU to continue working on solutions to mitigate the deepening effects of the series of successive crises that have hit the continent.

The high support for the EU builds on the experience of past years, when Brussels demonstrated a remarkable ability to come together and introduce effective measures.

At the time of the survey, citizens are not satisfied with the actions taken either at the national or at the European level.

Only a third of Europeans are satisfied with the measures taken by their national governments or the EU to tackle the rising cost of living. 

Bulgarian respondents express stronger dissatisfaction than the EU average with regard to the measures taken by the national government (21 percent), and with regard to the measures taken by the EU, the results are commensurate with the average for the Union - 32 percent.

Regarding the financial situation of citizens, the study shows that the consequences of the crisis in various areas of life are felt more and more distinctly.

Almost half of the EU's population (46 per cent) say their living standards have already fallen due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.

Another 39 percent have yet to experience a decline in their living standards but expect this to happen in the next year, a bleak outlook for 2023. 

The data for Bulgaria on these indicators show that, according to 53 percent of the respondents, their standard of living has already been lowered, and another 28 percent expect this to happen in 2023. 

Another indicator of growing economic restrictions is the increase in the share of citizens who have difficulty paying bills "most of the time" or "sometimes" - from the fall of 2021, the total increase in these two indicators is nine percentage points - from 30 to one hundred to 39 per cent.

In Bulgaria, these indicators are almost twice the average for Europe, with 64 percent of respondents having difficulties "most of the time" or "sometimes" when paying bills. 

"People are understandably worried about the rising cost of living as more families struggle to make ends meet. Now is the time to help by introducing adequate measures: to get bills under control, to stave off inflation and to get our economies are growing. We must protect the most vulnerable in our societies," said European Parliament President Roberta Mezzola. 

The numerous geopolitical crises of recent years continue to present citizens and politicians with serious challenges.

With inflation at its highest level in decades, citizens want the European Parliament to focus on fighting poverty and social exclusion (37 percent).

Public health continues to be important to many citizens (34 percent), as is continued action on climate change (31 percent).

Support for the economy and the creation of new jobs (31 percent) is also in a key place among citizens' expectations. 

According to the Bulgarian respondents, the main priorities of the European Parliament should be the fight against poverty and social exclusion (44 percent), support for the economy and the creation of new jobs (43 percent), public health (34 percent), as well as the topic of democracy and the rule of law (27 percent), while action against climate change is recognized by only 10 percent of respondents, which is nearly 20 percentage points different from the European average. 

At the same time, the current crises, and especially Russia's war against Ukraine, are strengthening citizens' support for the European Union: 62 percent of respondents believe that EU membership is a "good thing", one of the highest results since 2007 . 

The share for Bulgaria according to this indicator is much lower - 49 percent, which puts it among the member states with the lowest levels according to this indicator (Italy and Romania with 46 percent, Slovakia - 44 percent, Greece - 43 percent hundred and Austria - 42 percent). 

Two-thirds of European citizens (66 percent) think that their country's EU membership is important, and 72 percent think that their country has gained from its EU membership. 

The figures for Bulgaria show that 54 percent of respondents believe that their EU membership is important, while 60 percent of them indicate that Bulgaria has gained from its EU membership, placing it second to last among member states and both indicators - respectively ahead of Slovakia (48 percent) and Austria (55 percent). 

Household consumer spending in the EU increased by 4.2% in 2021, and in Bulgaria by 9.7%

In this context, the idea of ​​"peace" returns to the minds of citizens as one of the key and fundamental reasons for the existence of the European Union: 36 percent of Europeans believe that the European Union's contribution to maintaining peace and strengthening security are the main advantages of EU membership, an increase of six percentage points from autumn 2021. Europeans also believe that the EU facilitates better cooperation between member states (35 per cent) and contributes to economic growth (30 per cent). 

For 53 percent of Bulgarian respondents, the biggest advantage of EU membership is that the union provides Bulgarians with new job opportunities, which puts the country in the same group as Croatia (51 percent), Slovakia (43 percent), Hungary (40 percent), Romania (39 percent), the Czech Republic (38 percent) and Estonia (38 percent).

The next most important benefits of EU membership for Bulgarian respondents are better cooperation between Bulgaria and other member states (33 percent), as well as maintaining peace and strengthening security (29 percent).

The Autumn 2022 Eurobarometer survey was conducted for the European Parliament by the market research institute Kantar between 12 October and 7 November in all 27 EU Member States.

It was conducted face-to-face, with video interviews (CAVI) additionally used in the Czech Republic and Denmark, with 26,443 interviews conducted.

EU averages are weighted by the population of each member state. 


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