Europeans are among the most pessimistic in the developed world, a new poll has found, as a large number of participants from several major countries across Europe said they feel gloomy about their national outlook, their youth and the world in general.
The global survey, conducted annually by YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project in 23 of the world’s largest countries, explores public concerns about living standards, public safety, healthcare, education, community and the future of the planet.
Participants France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, and Poland – the eight nations that together, represent nearly three-quarters of the European Union’s population – expressed much higher levels of pessimism about their nation’s prospects, UK-based daily The Guardian reported Friday.
According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of French respondents described themselves as either fairly or very pessimistic about their country’s future, compared with 13 percent who expressed optimism.
This is while over half of British participants in the poll expressed pessimism about their nation’s outlook, as did half of Italians and Spaniards about their respective countries.
The survey further found that French citizens were the most pessimistic of any national grouping surveyed on their short-term prospects. When asked to think about the next 12 months, only 27 percent expressed optimism while 18 percent were optimistic about the future of their local community, and merely eight percent were optimistic about the future of the world.
Responding to queries about the prospects of future generations, just seven percent of French people thought they would experience a better standard of living than their parents compared with nearly 74 percent who said things would be worse — a view shared by 63 percent of Spaniards, 59 percent of Italians and more than half (53 percent) of Britons.
People more optimistic in emerging economies
The poll discovered much greater levels of optimism in emerging and newly developed economies.
It showed that 81 percent of the people in China were optimistic about the future, as did 73 percent of Indians and 73 percent of Indonesians.
The findings point to “a mood of disaffection and cynicism among swaths of the European electorate” as European parliamentary elections are due to be held later this month, the report underlines, describing the past five years of the outgoing parliament as “perhaps the most testing in the history of the EU,” amid the debt and refugee crises further compounded by Britain’s pending exit.
Citing experts analyzing the survey’s findings, the report also points out that populists across the eight European nations were more than twice as likely to feel gloomy about their country’s future.
It further noted that the effect was magnified in France and Germany, where people with more intense populist views were four times more likely to be pessimistic.
The daily also predicted that right-wing populist parties, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France and Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy, will perform well in the elections later in May, with polls suggesting they could boost their share of representatives in European Parliament.