The fight against terrorism should be the European Union's number one priority, followed by action on unemployment, the fight against tax fraud, migration, the protection of external borders and the environment, according to the vast majority of people surveyed in a special Eurobarometer, the European Parliament said on Friday.
Respondents were asked whether EU should intervene more or less in various policy areas and the majority believe that more common EU action is required. The survey was conducted among 27,969 people from all over the EU between 9 April and 18 April.
The fight against terrorism (82%) and the fight against unemployment (77%) were singled out as the main priorities by people, including Croats. Also, 40% of respondents considered the risk of a terrorist attack to be high.
The three measures proposed by the European Parliament that Europeans thought were most urgent are tackling the financing of terrorist groups (42%), fighting the roots of terrorism and radicalisation (41%) and strengthening control of the external EU borders (39%).
In addition, 75% of respondents wanted more EU action on the fight against tax fraud, 74% on migration, 71% on the protection of external borders, while 67% wanted to see more done on environmental protection.
The European Parliament is already working on new initiatives for the priorities singled out by people in the survey. For example regarding the fight against terrorism, MEPs are working on a law that would make preparing to commit terror attacks a crime throughout the EU and they are also working on tightening up rules on buying and owning firearms.
On taxation, Parliament is due to put forward recommendations to make multinationals pay a fair share of taxes next week. Parliament has also set up an inquiry committee, which will be looking into the revelations contained in the Panama Papers. As for the protection of the EU’s external borders, MEPs are set to adopt plans for an EU border control system, bringing together the EU’s Frontex border agency and national border management authorities, also next week.
Three quarters of Europeans (74%) believe that what brings them together is more important than what separates them. The vast majority of people also said that the EU should intervene more than at present.
In comparison to average expectations at EU level, more Croatian citizens expect more EU action on the fight against unemployment (78%), health and social security (67%), agriculture (65%) and economic and industrial policies (60%).
For Croats, the most important thing is for the EU to be more active in the fight against unemployment (78%), followed by the fight against terrorism (74%), 14% believe the risk of a terrorist attack in Croatia is high, and 83% believe that what brings Europeans together is more important than what separates them.