Growing scepticism towards Europe

19/08/2008 15:00

Since the early 1990s, Euroscepticism has gained ground in the Netherlands. Only voters in the 18–25 age bracket are truly enthusiastic about Europe.

In 2006, a distinct majority of voters rejected further European integration: 55 percent decline further integration, 26 percent are in favour of further integration and 19 percent are indifferent. The lack of faith in Europe is obviously more widespread than in the early 1990s. In 1994, opponents  (30 percent) were still outnumbered by supporters (38 percent). With 68 percent in favour, 18 to 25-year-olds are the only age group in the Dutch population to be truly enthusiastic about Europe. 

Opinions on further European integration

Opinions on further European integration

Scepticism widespread among lower educated

A minority are contented with the way democracy works in the European Union. NB Three quarters are satisfied with the way democracy works in the Netherlands. Only 41 percent of voters trust the European Union, whereas 55, 60 and 61 percent respectively trust NATO, Parliament and their fellow men.

Higher educated people tend to be more trustful than the lower educated part in the population. The difference between higher and lower educated is most apparent when it comes to trusting other people; it varies from 38 percent among people whose level of education does not go beyond primary education to 80 percent among people with a higher vocational or university degree. With respect to the EU, the percentages vary between 31 and 47.

Faith in other persons, NATO, Parliament and EU by level of education, 2006

Faith in other persons, NATO, Parliament and EU by level of education, 2006

PVV, Christian Union and SP voters very sceptical about EU

Faith in individuals and institutions also varies strongly with political preference. Nine in ten Green Left voters trust other people, whereas fewer than one in two PVV voters do.
PVV supporters are the most sceptical towards Parliament, NATO and the EU. Some 50 percent of Christian Democratic Party (CDA) and Green Left Party voters, 45 percent of Labour Party (PvdA) and Liberal Party (VVD) voters and 30 percent of Christian Union (CU) and Socialist Party (SP) voters tend to have faith in the EU.

No faith in other persons, NATO, Parliament and EU by political party, 2006

No faith in other persons, NATO, Parliament and EU by political party, 2006

Hans Schmeets