EU Neighbourhood Barometer is part of the Regional Communication Programme 2012-2014. It aims to generate an analysis tool for DEVCO (Directorate General Development and Cooperation, EuropeAid) and the EU Delegations in the 17 countries and territories neighbouring the European Union about the population knowledge and perception of the EU Neighbourhood Policy (ENPI) and its cooperation activities and programmes. The project (neighbourhood barometer) has two objectives: (i) to measure public opinion towards the EU policy in the respective country of the EU Neighbourhood area; (ii) to monitor the media coverage in each country of the EU Neighbourhood area related to the EU and EU cooperation/policy.
As far as the first (i) objective is concerned two waves of opinion polls were conducted in 2012; similar results for 2013 are unfortunately not available. Section 3 and 4 of the 2012 Barometer is dealing with the ‘perceptions on the European Union’ and perceptions on ‘aid and cooperation with the European Union’ respectively. Key findings show that around 40-42% of the citizens (ENPI South, 10 countries) had a positive image of the EU in 2012; ca. 20% of the respondents found the EU neutral, a little less than one third of them had either no opinion or did not know what to think about the EU, whereas only 9 percent had an explicitly negative view on it on average. Taking a closer look at the results the ‘do not know’ answers were very rare in Israel (6%) and Palestine (5%), somewhat higher in Jordan (16%) and extremely high in Egypt (66%). Only 20 percent of the Egyptians said that they had a positive view on the EU (Israel: 34%, Jordan: 48%, Palestine: 50%), while the EU-image is the most negative in Israel (20%), which is followed by Palestine (16%), Egypt (6%) and Jordan (3%). According to the polls findings, citizens of the ENPI South countries were (are) poorly aware of the EU cooperation programmes, development and humanitarian assistance included: 45% of the respondents did not know anything about it, whereas 28% said that the EU had not provided financial support for their countries. As authors of the report note “the availability and the quality of the EU-related information appear to be insufficient for ENPI South citizens”, especially in Egypt (74% said ‘do not know’ and Jordan: 57%). The most informed respondents lived in Palestine where two thirds of those interviewed knew that the EU provided financial support for cooperation programmes in their country. Indeed, most of the Palestinians, even ordinary people have firm opinion on how the Western/EU/international cooperation works. Qualitative interviews revealed that those beneficiaries being familiar with aid(ing) are content neither with the technical-level cooperation (projects), nor with the policies behind (Paragi 2012a, Paragi 2012b). These results are well illustrated by this short film conducted by Dalia (http://www.dalia.ps/), a local Palestinian civil organization in 2011:
International Aid hurts Palestinian Society
European Neighbourhood Barometer. South. Wave 2, Autumn, 2012. TNS Opinion
European Neighbourhood Barometer. South. Wave 1, Spring, 2012 TNS Opinion