HAMBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - Dec 10, 2012) - Only about one in eight European citizens (12%) believes that politicians prepare well for the future -- in Germany, no more than one in twenty people (5%) trusts them to take the appropriate actions. This is the result of the latest Europe Survey of the BAT Foundation for Future Studies, which comprised representative questioning of more than 11,000 people over 14 years old from ten European countries in personal interviews.
Today, on the 10th of December 2012, the European Union will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This positive news without a doubt gratifies political representatives throughout the continent. The European citizens, however, assess the politicians' performance more than negatively. All across Europe, the trust in political representatives has reached a new low. While in 2010, there were still 14 percent and 13 percent in 2011 who believed that politicians were preparing well for the future, currently only 12 percent of the Europeans take this view.
The Danish people are the only ones still believing to some degree in the appropriate behaviour of their elected representatives. In Poland and Greece, Germany and Great Britain on the other hand, it is only a small minority of inhabitants who trust in the future viability of the politicians. "The trust in politics is almost entirely exhausted. The people feel as if they are constantly receiving bad news, whilst never getting to learn the whole truth about the extent of the crisis. Furthermore, the citizens increasingly regard the politicians as driven people, reacting rather than acting and having themselves lost the overview," says Professor Dr. Ulrich Reinhardt, Scientific Director of the BAT Foundation.
LIVING IN CONTINUING TIMES OF CRISIS
PEOPLE KEEP EXPECTING CRISES
From the financial crisis, over the economic up to the euro crisis -- the population has the feeling of living in permanent times of crisis. More than two thirds (68%) of the European people also expect further crises for the future. Especially in Greece and Spain, who suffer particularly from the current economic situation, people are afraid of stepping from one crisis into another in the future. But also three quarters of the French and two thirds of the German people display a pessimistic view of the future. Even among the usually positive thinking Dutch people, almost half of them dread a continuation of insecure times. According to Reinhardt, "the Europeans by now have realized that the question is not whether there will be a new crisis, but only when and to which extent."
FEAR OF AN INCREASING GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR
THREE THIRDS OF THE GERMAN CITIZENS EXPRESS THEIR CONCERN
Europe is one of the wealthiest regions of the earth and yet, around 17 percent -- over 100 million -- of the Europeans live below the poverty line. They do not have enough money to satisfy basic needs. On the other hand there is news about record profits and sales growths for companies, about new bonuses for bankers and executive boards. Almost three out of four European citizens (71%) are afraid that the division of society resulting from this will even increase in the future. Throughout Europe, the majority of people in every country are convinced of this development by now. And their fears are perfectly legitimate: According to the United Nations report
- Ten percent of the total population in Europe own 60% of the total assets.
- The number of millionaires has increased by 19% during the past three years.
- Five percent of the European people own as much real estate property as the other 95 percent.
- The average salary in Europe has tripled since the late 1970s, while management salaries have risen even eightfold.
"The social gap in Europe is wide. The middle class -- as the backbone of every society -- has to be relieved and supported, otherwise there might be social tensions and open conflicts," worries Professor Reinhardt.