site.bta2022 Eurobarometer Survey: 93% of Europeans, 96% of Bulgarians Worried about Cost of Living
The rising cost of living is the most pressing concern for 93% of Europeans, according to the European Parliament’s Autumn 2022 Eurobarometer Survey, published on Thursday. In Bulgaria, the share of respondents who were worried about the rising cost of living was among the highest at 96%. The increase in prices, including of energy and food, has been felt in all socio-demographic categories such as gender and age, as well as in all educational and socio-professional groups.
A total of 86% of Bulgarian respondents were worried about the threat of poverty and social exclusion, and the danger of the war in Ukraine spreading to other countries (85%), while the threat of climate change was an issue for 69%.
In every EU Member State, more than seven in ten respondents were concerned about the rising cost of living, with the highest scores in Greece (100%), Cyprus (99%), Italy and Portugal (both 98%).
The second most mentioned issue at the European level (82% of respondents), was the threat of poverty and social exclusion, followed by climate change and the danger of war spreading from Ukraine to other countries (both 81%).
Bulgarian respondents expressed stronger dissatisfaction than the EU average regarding the measures taken by their national government (21%), while regarding measures taken by the EU, the results were similar to the EU average (32%).
When it comes to the financial situation of citizens, the study shows that the consequences of the crisis in various areas of life were felt more distinctly. Some 46% of the EU population said that their living standards have already gone down due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's war against Ukraine and the cost of living crisis. Another 39% have not yet experienced a decline in their living standards but expect this to happen in the next year.
The data for Bulgaria on these indicators show that, according to 53% of respondents, their standard of living has already gone down, and another 28% expect this to happen in 2023.
Another indicator of growing economic restrictions was the increase in the share of citizens who have difficulty paying bills "most of the time" or "sometimes". From the autumn of 2021, the total increase in these two indicators was nine percentage points, from 30% to 39%.
In Bulgaria, these indicators were almost twice the average for Europe, with 64% of respondents having difficulties "most of the time" or "sometimes" when paying bills.
Bulgarian respondents also indicated that the main priorities of the European Parliament should be the fight against poverty and social exclusion (44%), support for the economy and the creation of new jobs (43%), public health (34%), as well as the topic of democracy and rule of law (27%), while actions against climate change were recognized by only 10% of respondents, which represents nearly 20 percentage points difference with the average levels for Europe.
At the same time, the current crises, and especially Russia's war against Ukraine, are strengthening citizens' support for the European Union: 62% of respondents believe that EU membership is a "good thing", which is one of the highest results since 2007.
The share for Bulgaria on this indicator is much lower (49%), which puts it among the member states with the lowest levels on this indicator (Slovakia - 44%, Greece - 43%, and Austria - 42%).
Two-thirds of European citizens (66%) said that their country's EU membership is important, and 72% believe that their country has gained from its EU membership.
The figures for Bulgaria show that 54% of respondents believe that their EU membership is important, while 60% of them indicated that Bulgaria has gained from its EU membership, placing it second to last among member states on both indicators .
For 53% of Bulgarian respondents, the biggest advantage of EU membership was that the union provides Bulgarians with new job opportunities. The next most important benefits of EU membership for Bulgarian respondents were better cooperation between Bulgaria and other member states (33%), as well as maintaining peace and strengthening security (29%).
The Autumn 2022 Eurobarometer survey was conducted for the European Parliament by the Kantar market research institute between October 12 and November 7 in all 27 EU Member States. It was conducted face-to-face, with video interviews (CAVI) additionally used in Czechia and Denmark, with a total of 26,443 interviews conducted.