While nearly half of Europeans regard globalization as a threat, the majority also see the EU as part of the answer, according to a new study. Terrorism and migration ranked as the main concerns on Europeans' minds.
Despite personally having good experiences with globalization, it's regarded as a threat by 44 percent of Europeans — especially those on the far-right of the political spectrum, according to a study released Thursday by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
Some 66 percent of the 10,755 people polled in July, however, also said their access to affordable goods and services has been "quite good" or better. Support for globalization and international integration, however, split according to party lines. Right-wing and right-wing populist parties "reject any type of political and economic opening up towards both globalization and the EU," the study found.
"Many supporters of left-wing parties see globalization as a threat but still support the further development of the EU. In contrast the right see Europe as the problem rather than part of the solution. For this reason throughout Europe they consistently reject stronger integration," Isabel Hoffmann, one of the study's co-authors, said in a statement.
In Germany, 63 percent of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) members polled said they feared globalization while 73 percent of German Green supporters regarded it as an opportunity. Among Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, 71 percent viewed globalization as an opportunity.
Coping with the political split will require frank discussions and strong political leadership, according to Aart De Geus, the Bertelsmann Stiftung's chairman and CEO.
"Those voices that promise a future confrontation between nations instead of international togetherness have to be countered with persuasion, facts and open discussions," he said. "To do that, strong political leadership is also required."
Europeans troubled over terror, migration
A quarter of all Europeans said the fight against terrorism should be Europe's top priority. Another 20 percent of Europeans said they currently considered the management of migration to be Europe's main task. Europeans' views of the issues the EU needs to address varied little by political party affiliation. Fewer than 10 percent of those polled regarded stopping climate change, reducing inequality or creating economic growth as the EU's top priority in the coming years.
sms/msh (dpa, epd)