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SUPPORT TO FURTHER ENLARGEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION DECREASES

London (UK), September 14th, 2006 Support for further enlargement of the European Union (EU) is less widespread now than in November 2005 (45 per cent, down 4 points) and opposition has increased (42 per cent, up 3 points), according to the findings of the latest wave of the Eurobarometer survey conducted by TNS Opinion & Social for the European Commission.

Support to further enlargement of the European Union – EU25

The survey, which interviews nearly 30,000 people across the 25 Member States, the two acceding countries, the two candidate countries and the Turkish Cypriot Community, shows that the gap between supporters and opponents is now significantly smaller: 3 points vs. 10 points in November 2005.

Public opinion about further EU enlargement continues to be more positive in the ten New Member States (66 per cent). As in November 2005, a 25 points difference exists between the results obtained in the EU15 and the New Member States.

Support for further enlargement continues to show large cleavages between the Member States. Widespread support is found in Slovenia (73 per cent) and Poland (72 per cent) which contrasts sharply with the reluctance – if not outright opposition – in Germany, Luxembourg, France, Austria and Finland, where at least six out of ten respondents are against it.

Support to further enlargement of the European Union - percentage per country

What is your opinion on each of the following statements? Please tell me for each statement, whether you are for it or against it. - Further enlargement of the European Union to include other countries in future years.

In the accession and candidate countries, around two out of three interviewees are in favour of further enlargement. Turkey conforms a clear exception: support has fallen to 45 per cent – down 7 points since November 2005.

An analysis of the shifts in the percentages across Member States since the previous wave shows the following developments:

* Significant increases in support, accompanied by significant decreases in opposition, in Denmark.

* In Sweden, Spain and Malta, a one-way positive change has taken place as the proportion against enlargement is now significantly lower in these countries.

* No significant shifts or only very minor shifts took place since November 2005 in Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Slovenia and Austria.

* In Cyprus, Portugal, and Italy, positive responses have fallen, matched by a parallel increase of the ‘don’t know’ response.

* A one-way negative shift has been recorded in Estonia, Belgium (increases in ‘against’ responses) and Luxembourg (a drop in ‘for’ responses).

* Significant increases in opposition, accompanied by significant decreases in support, have been recorded in Greece, Finland, Ireland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Germany, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands.

* Support for enlargement in Greece has traditionally been one of the highest in the EU, but the latest results show a strong decline (from 74 to 56 per cent). This would suggest that recent developments relating to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, and the debate about Turkey would have influenced in this shift.

Marita Carballo, Global Head of TNS Polling & Social, comments: “Whereas this new Eurobarometer shows that Europeans’ attitudes towards EU membership and trust in European institutions have improved since November 2005, views towards enlargement are becoming more and more divided. We can still find, though, the New Member States much more open to enlargement than the EU15, with countries such as Finland, France, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg in clear opposition.”

About TNS Polling & Social Facts and Figures:

The Eurobarometer report was posted at the following website on July 10 2006:
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/standard_en.htm

The European Commission has made data from this report available to relevant media since it was first published. To the best of our knowledge, the findings in the attached press release have not been released.

These findings are based on TNS Opinion & Social research conducted between March and May 2006. All data discussed in the above announcement is based on the opinions of those surveyed. TNS will only support data which is published, in the context we have presented it and our own interpretation of these findings. We cannot be held responsible for any other interpretation.

As a leading information provider, TNS wants to cast new light on currently debated topics presenting data collected on a European or International basis. TNS Polling & Social Facts & Figures will be published twice a month. 

Methodological background:

Fieldwork: 27th of March to the 1st of May 2006

Number of interviews conducted: 29,220 persons interviewed face-to-face in the 25 Member States of the EU, the two acceding countries (Bulgaria and Romania), the two candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey) and the non-government controlled area of Cyprus.

About TNS

TNS is a market information group:
* The world’s largest provider of custom research and analysis
* A leader in political and social polling
* A major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and TV and radio audience measurement services.

TNS operates across a global network in over 70 countries, allowing us to provide internationally consistent, up-to-the-minute and high quality information and analysis.

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www.tns-global.com  – 1st resource

For more information and detailed results on a country-by-country basis, please contact:

Marita Carballo, Global Head of TNS Polling & Social
Tel: +44 (0) 7739 856 902 or email: marita.carballo@tns-global.com  

Leendert de Voogd, Managing Director, TNS Opinion & Social
Tel: +32 (0) 2 66 118 66 or email: leendert.devoogd@tns-opinion.com

Katie Zurita, International PR Manager, TNS
Tel: +44 (0) 208 967 4787 or email: katie.zurita@tns-global.com

Liz Kearney / Emily Luscombe, Camargue
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7636 7366 or email: ekearney@camarguepr.com


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