NEWS

Economic worries abound

Like most other Europeans, Greeks fear the specter of unemployment and economic uncertainty, the latest Eurobarometer survey shows. The report, which was made public yesterday, indicates that two out of three Greeks (62 percent) are very concerned by unemployment, especially following the impending European Union enlargement. One in three Greeks (34 percent) finds the general economic situation very disturbing, a percentage that is higher only in the Netherlands and Germany. In Germany, 66 percent are worried by unemployment. Europeans also agree on several other issues. In current EU member states, 58 percent said the USA tends to play a negative role, while 23 percent saw its role as positive. The Greeks were, again, the most skeptical, with 91 percent saying the US plays a negative role in preserving international peace. Among future EU citizens, 45 percent think America tends to play a negative role in the world, compared with 35 percent who think it plays a positive one, the survey found. And 56 percent of EU citizens said that the Union should work toward a strong, autonomous political presence. Over two-thirds of citizens in every country want EU foreign policy to be independent of US policy, the poll found. Throughout the enlarged EU (except Malta), more than 70 percent felt Europe should agree on a common position when an international crisis erupts. The poll was conducted between March and May among some 28,400 citizens across Europe. Most Greeks are skeptical of the government (53 percent) while eight out of 10 don’t trust political parties and half do not trust the news media. But the print media appear to be gaining slightly more trust, with this rising to 44 percent, or 10 percent more than this time last year. A most unsettling finding is that half the Greeks reject the political system in its entirety, and in this are outdone only by the Italians and Portuguese. Amazingly, the Greeks are more distrustful of their democratic system (80 percent) than of multinational corporations (70 percent). So who do they trust? In order of preference: the military (80 percent), the judiciary (69 percent) and non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies (68 percent). Two out of three Greeks have positive feelings about the European Union and 41 percent of them say they feel both Greek and European.