Poll: Greeks feel weak in EU

Public opinion in Greece believes that the country has very little say in European Union affairs, but much more than it had 10 years ago, according to an EU survey made public yesterday. A separate poll found that many Greeks fear an influx of immigrants from new Union members as a result of expansion, and most regard this as a bad thing. A Eurobarometer poll made public in Athens yesterday found that 66.9 percent of Greeks surveyed between January 22 and February 28 believed their country had the least influence of all 15 member states on EU decision-making. Portugal was listed next, followed by Ireland. And 79 percent disagreed with the view that their opinions carry any weight in the EU. The average EU citizen named Portugal as the least influential member state, with Greece next. Some 85.1 percent of Greek respondents believed Germany to be the most influential member state, while France came second at 66.1 percent and Britain third at 59.3 percent. However, 76.2 percent of Greeks conceded that their country’s say in European affairs is stronger than it was 10 years ago. Regarding EU expansion, 58 percent said Greece would benefit from the integration of new countries. According to another survey released in Brussels yesterday, 66 percent of the Greek population feels that many citizens of EU candidate members would settle in Greece after their country’s EU integration. This was the highest percentage among all EU nationals polled, with Germany coming second at 53 percent. And 87 percent said this would be a negative rather than a positive development. Over 10 percent of Greece’s population now consists of immigrants, most of whom entered the country illegally in the 1990s.