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EU humiliated: French see bloc as 'more fragile' and most say Covid handled 'badly' – POLL


The people of France believe the EU is more fragile and less resilient to crises than it used to be, a new survey has revealed.

While those polled are sceptical of the bloc’s strength, they seem to trust in their leader, President Emmanuel Macron, whom they have dubbed the embodiment of the Union.

The presidency of the European Council, which rotates among the 27 EU member states every six months, will be in the hands of France from January 1.

But the results of a poll conducted from November 10 to 17 suggest Mr Macron’s people may not be overly enthusiastic about the start of their turn.

A key area where voters showed disapproval of was the EU’s current level of solidarity.

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49 percent of respondents said they think members’ ability to show support for other nations will further deteriorate in the coming months, while 24 percent anticipate the opposite and 19 percent expect it to remain the same.

61 percent of those surveyed think EU countries should have solidary.

Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 51 percent of respondents think Europe has not been up to the task, 34 percent confess they don’t really know how the EU has responded to Covid, and 44 percent praise the bloc’s actions.

The poll asked 2,000 adults what the EU should be above all.

The Viavoice survey, commissioned by France Télévisions, Radio France and France Médias Monde, found that awareness of the Union’s leaders is rather low as only 45 percent knew about the position of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

President Macron and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel are in respondents’ eyes the two European figures who most embody the EU.

The results of the poll come at a delicate time for the bloc, with heightened tensions over the rule of law with Poland and Hungary; a huge influx of asylum seekers crossing the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia from Belarus, and a renewed wave of coronavirus restrictions necessary, in part, due to low vaccination rates across some member states.

Ms Von der Leyen said in Brussels on Wednesday: “We have the vaccines, the life-saving vaccines, but they are not being used adequately everywhere. And this costs… this is an enormous health cost coming along.

“One-third of the European population is not vaccinated… not each and every one can be vaccinated — children, for example, or people with special medical conditions — but the vast majority could.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union, this needs discussion.

“This needs a common approach, but it is a discussion that I think has to be met.”

The EU head has urged leaders to deploy booster jabs and encouraged them to implement tighter rules to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant.

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