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Young Europeans Dissatisfied with Performance of Foreign Policy Makers

An overwhelming majority of young Europeans feel uninformed about how decisions on EU foreign policy are made.

The Europe & Me online magazine conducted a survey among more than 6,500 young Europeans to investigate their views on EU foreign policy. Representatives of the Young Europeans will make a difference at this year’s “Berliner Forum Außenpolitik” (Berlin Foreign Policy Forum), an influential gathering on European foreign policy organised by Körber-Stiftung in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office which will take place in Berlin on November 29th. Two thirds of the participants agreed with the statement above and feel uninformed, despite the fact that most are interested in the topic and inform themselves regularly about it. Partly, young Europeans believe that EU foreign policy is a complex topic (26%). However, most state that politicians are inaccessible (38%) or that the media simply does not explain the topic well enough (39%). The young generation thus sees a lot of work to be done on the side of state actors: Over 70% of respondents believe that a more unified EU foreign policy would benefit their country, and a majority is not satisfied with their country’s actions for achieving this goal. Regarding the issues EU foreign policy should address in the future, more than one quarter of the respondents (25.2%) would like to see the EU invest in long-term development of the Southern hemisphere. Even more participants (26.8%) want EU foreign policy to focus on dealing with humanitarian crises. Accordingly, a large majority also believes that the EU has the responsibility to intervene in such crises. However, not even a quarter of the young Europeans are content with the European Union’s response to the Libya crisis, and most (39.7%) believe the management was left to the member states. Asking the participants where the EU should invest to build positive relations in the future -several options could be selected- showed clear priorities among the respondents: Middle East (61.6%), followed by China (56.4%) and USA (39.7%). Over the past two months, the transnational online magazine Europe & Me mobilized over 6.500 Europeans under 35 to fill out the survey about EU foreign policy. Europe & Me worked together with Körber-Stiftung to select seven representatives from across Europe to prepare the questionnaire of the survey and promote it among young Europeans. Respondents from over 23 European countries chose to make their voice heard through the survey and demonstrated that young Europeans are indeed interested in EU foreign policy. The data collected  will be openly available athttp://goo.gl/BtbUa on the day of the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, 29 November, at 9am.