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Trust in national governments plummets across the EU during Covid pandemic – Survey

Support for national governments throughout the EU has fallen in the course of the Covid pandemic, a new bloc-wide survey has found, as sluggish vaccine rollouts fuel criticism of state responses to the crisis.

The survey, conducted by EU agency Eurofound, showed that citizens in all countries across the bloc, except in Denmark, have less faith in their national government than they'd had before Covid lockdowns were imposed in March 2020. The Austrian government, which initially gained support domestically for its handling of the pandemic but then came under fire for its vaccine purchases, experienced the largest drop in support.

This decline in support for the individual governments of 26 out of the 27 member states was paired with a fall in satisfaction with pandemic support measures, as only 10% of respondents said they found it easy and efficient to secure help where needed.

Despite the issues surrounding the Covid vaccine rollout as handled by the EU, public support for the bloc remained higher than that for member-state governments, although a post-recovery-plan boost in approval, seen in the immediate aftermath of the agreement’s finalization by EU leaders in July 2020, has waned.

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The findings laid out in the latest batch of data reflects an early warning from Eurofound that rising inequality and pandemic fatigue could cause instability and a further drop in support for national governments. “Failing to prevent the rise of economic and social inequalities among citizens and member states risks...triggering political discontent,” the survey stated.

Eurofound’s research covers the period from March 2020 until Spring 2021 and incorporates over 138,629 survey responses, and aimed to study changing attitudes on a variety of issues during the pandemic, including faith in governments and support for vaccination programs.

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