Nearly half of Spaniards unaware of country’s upcoming EU presidency stint

Forty-four per cent of Spaniards are unaware that Madrid is soon set to take over the EU helm for the second half of the year, while only 28% know what the rotating EU presidency is, data from a new survey by the think tank Elcano reveals. 

Published on Friday, the report by Elcano Royal Institute was based on 1,000 telephone interviews between 14 February and 8 March.

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“Perhaps not enough education and dissemination has been done”, Elcano’s senior researcher Carmen González, responsible for the study, stressed.

The report also reveals a substantial difference in the level of knowledge about the EU according to age: only 28% of people below 29 know Spain will preside over the EU Council. The same can be said for 76% of those over 65.

The survey also reveals that 56% responded they are aware of the Spanish presidency, while 44% said: “no, I have just found out”.

In addition, according to the Elcano Barometer, only 28% of Spaniards know what the Council of the EU is, while 72% gave the wrong answer or said they could not remember what it entails.

In González’s view, it is clear that EU institutions and governments must do “much more outreach”, especially aimed at young people, given that their daily lives are increasingly affected by the decisions and agreements adopted by the EU.

Asked about what actions the Spanish presidency should prioritise, those surveyed cited fighting inflation and aiding farmers – choices that reflect the prevailing concern in Spanish society about rising food prices.

The survey also revealed that Spanish society has more confidence in EU institutions than national ones. On a scale of 0 to 10, the European Commission and the European Parliament scored 5.7 and 5.4 points, respectively, while the Spanish government and parliament scored 4.8 and 4.4.

Despite the trust in the European Union, only half of Spaniards (52%) say they understand how it works.

(Fernando Heller |

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