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Freedom's just another word....

Eurobarometer has released another one in its series of curious surveys, this time on 'European' values, whatever they are.

That the results are likely to be somewhat flawed can be seen from this question: "Which three of the following values, best represent the European Union?"

It does not offer bureaucracy, jobbery, fraud, waste etc, but rather more high-falutin' things like human rights, peace and democracy, all securing 36% + of responses.

As ever, the detail at national level is the most interesting, with Danes reckoning 'love' the most important thing for happiness, whereas those soulless Bulgars think it 'work' and 'money'. We opt for 'health'. Of the generally lower ranking issues, the Dutch are keenest on 'pleasure', Italians on 'tradition' and Austrians and Lithuanians on 'order'. Round of applause for the Swedes and Danes for ranking 'freedom' at 40%+, catcalls and a shower of tomatoes for the Maltese at 9%.

On the economic front, our Central and Eastern European friends seem to get it - asked '[is] free competition the best guarantee of economic prosperity', the Estonians are top of the class at 76%, with the other countries topping 70% all bordering the Baltic. Except Slovenia. Greece deserves five year plans and a siege economy, with only 45% pro. We manage a sub-average 58%.

Showing our traditional confusion, we also think 'the state intervenes too much in our lives (73%), admittedly behind Hungary (75%). The Finns think otherwise - 67% of them want Big Nanny telling them what to eat, what to do and what to think.

In a deeply depressing finding, 65% of those polled agree that 'we need more equality and justice (sic) even if this means less freedom for the individual'. 78% of Italians and Portuguese agree, as do a disgraceful 58% of our lot. Only in the Netherlands do a majority disagree - 52%/45%. Shame on the 13% of Irish folk who just don't know.

The Turks and Macedonians know rather better than the EU originators about being at the sharp end economically, with strong majorities thinking economic growth should be the priory even if it affects the environment. Only 17% of Finns agree. Flipping the question round, 90% + of Swedes and Danes would prioritise protecting the environment, even if it affects economic growth. Ho hum.

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Blogger Obnoxio The Clown said... 1:56 pm

Interesting, I find Malta to be a fairly laissez-faire nation. Sure, most of their utilities are centralised and so on, but the government seems to do very little sticking its nose into people's business.

Perhaps that's why they feel differently about freedom than the Swedes or Danes, who I suspect feel the oppresive yoke slightly more than the Maltese.  



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