Eurobarometer survey: Increased support for humanitarian aid in spite of economic crisis

The Special Eurobarometer 384 on Humanitarian Aid was conducted in face-to-face interviews among some 26.751 respondents in the 27 EU Member States. The survey that took place between February and March 2012 looked at the following themes:

(1) Awareness of humanitarian aid

(2) Importance of EU humanitarian aid activities for citizens

(3) Support for EU funding humanitarian aid despite economic crisis

(4) Common or national approach to humanitarian aid

(5) Knowledge and information on EU humanitarian aid activities

(6) Attitude towards a European voluntary aid corps

Main results

88% consider it important for the EU to fund humanitarian aid (79% in 2010).

This is a significant increase of nine percentage points since 2010. An increase in support can be noted in all Member States, with the exception of Austria where the approval rate of 68% is the lowest (decreased by 2% since 2010). The strongest support has been recorded in Cyprus (96%). Lithuania recorded the biggest increase (+22%).

84% agree that the EU should continue to fund humanitarian aid in spite of the current economic crisis.

The strongest support was expressed in Greece (93%), Denmark (92%), Portugal (91%) and Bulgaria (91%). The largest share of respondents opposed was recorded in Belgium (21%) and Austria (19%).

71% believe that humanitarian aid provided by the EU is more efficient than when provided by each Member State separately (58% in 2010).

The strongest support for a joint approach has been recorded in Spain (84%), Luxembourg (82%) and Cyprus (80%). The lowest in Austria (57%) and Romania (55%). Support for a joint EU approach is over 50% in all Member States.

68% are aware that the EU funds humanitarian aid, 30% feel well informed (18% in 2010). Respondents chose television as their preferred source of information, followed by the internet and the press.

Awareness of the EU funding humanitarian aid is consistent throughout the EU and over 50% in all Member States. It’s at the lowest in Hungary (51%) and Italy (52%) and the highest in Luxembourg (83%) and the Netherlands (80%). 30% also feel well informed, an increase of 12 percentage points since 2010. Television (62%) and the internet (51%) are by far the most favourite information sources, followed by the press (34%) and radio (22%).

Key findings

A vast majority of EU citizens agree that funding humanitarian aid is important (88%), an increase of nine percentage points since the previous survey in 2010.

There is overwhelming support for the EU to continue funding humanitarian aid, in spite of the economic crisis (84%).

A majority supports a coordinated EU approach to humanitarian aid.

Nine out of ten (88%) are positive about the plans to establish an EU humanitarian aid voluntary corps.

The European Union as a humanitarian actor

The EU   as a whole — the European Commission together with the Member States — is the world’s leading humanitarian aid donor. For the past five years, the Commission provided an average of €1 billion annually for humanitarian funding. In 2011 the European Commission assisted 117 million people in 91 non-EU countries.

The Commission channels humanitarian funds through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), which comes under the responsibility of Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. The projects it finances are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

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