Opinions on how governments handled the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic varies hugely in Europe, a survey showed yesterday, with hard-hit Italians especially disillusioned with the EU.
The poll was carried out on behalf of activist group "More in Common" in late June and July, but the data was made public yesterday after being seen by top officials in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and London.
The survey hints at what helped bring about the landmark and unexpected decision by divided EU member states to jointly finance a massive recovery plan for Europe.
The results clearly indicate disenchantment with the EU among Italians, who felt a stinging lack of solidarity from their EU partners as the crisis unfolded, especially from the Netherlands which only reluctantly accepted the plan after a fierce summit debate.
With far-right and anti-establishment parties already strong in the country, the Italian data would have raised alarm bells in EU capitals that euroscepticsm was worryingly on the rise in one of the bloc's founding members.
In the poll, only 33 percent of respondents in Italy said EU membership was a good thing, with 44 percent of respondents saying their trust in Brussels had worsened with the crisis.
The poll also revealed that the emotional response to the crisis differed in the European countries surveyed: Germany, France, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, as well as non-EU Britain.
A majority of respondents in Britain (62 percent), the Netherlands and Germany (both 57 percent) said the "pandemic has shown me that most people in our country care about each other."