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Europeans view the EU more positively than their home country


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Good morning. A first to start with: Brussels is considering a mandatory ban on member states using companies like China’s Huawei that pose a security risk in their 5G networks, officials told the Financial Times, ahead of a report saying that only a third of the EU countries did. followed recommendations to bar Huawei from critical parts of their communications networks.

Do you trust the EU more than your own government? My colleague analyzes data showing that this is true for most. And Laura has the latest news from Brussels’ anti-fraud watchdog (and her crackdown on eel smugglers).

Europe expected

As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing in life worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

So Eurocrats and MEPs will be happy that an opinion poll yesterday showed that 71 percent of citizens are aware of their existence and the impact of their decisions on the lives of ordinary people. Elections next year will show if they think the impact is benign or malignant, writes Andy Borders.

Context: The European Parliament has conducted its latest Eurobarometer survey. The war in Ukraine, high energy prices and rising inflation have raised the EU’s profile and, according to pollsters, raised expectations that it can solve these problems.

But officials worry that those expectations will be hard to meet.

For now, EU legislators are more popular than national governments, but still not That popular. The poll, conducted in March, found that 32 percent of people believe Europe is “going in the right direction”, compared to just 26 percent who think this is true for their own country.

However, 47 percent believe that Europe is heading in the wrong direction. And a shocking 61 percent said that was true of their own country.

Support for Ukraine remained strong, with 69 percent approving EU policies. “War fatigue is not visible in the polls,” said Jaume Duch, spokesman for the EU parliament.

Interest in the elections is greater than last time. About two-thirds would vote in an election next week, compared to 58 percent before the vote in 2019.

That vote energized the Greens and Centrists and resulted in ambitious laws to curb climate change. Other national polls in Germany, Spain and elsewhere point to populists winning this time. Interest in the election has risen most in the Netherlands, where a revolt against EU climate legislation for farmers has propelled the nascent Farmer Citizen Movement to victory in provincial elections.

And the top priority for citizens is to fight poverty and social exclusion, not an area where the EU has much power.

“People expect the European level to perform,” said Philipp Schulmeister, parliament’s chief of campaigns. What happens in June if you can’t?

Chart du jour: defending Taiwan?

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About 60 percent of Europeans believe their country should remain neutral in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and not support US efforts to defend the island, according to a survey. new poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations on China, US and EU defense issues.

fraud busters

As the EU continues to grapple with the fallout from the “Qatargate” corruption scandal in the European Parliament, its anti-fraud watchdog has said it closed nearly 20 investigations into parliamentary staff last year. writes Laura Dubos.

Context: The Olaf anti-fraud agency is tasked with investigating misuse of the €2 trillion EU budgetand corruption and misconduct within parliament, the European Commission and other institutions.

In his annual report published yesterday, Olaf revealed it closed 40 investigations into EU staff last year. At the top was the European Parliament, with 18 closed cases, followed by the Committee with seven cases.

The cases included false declarations, undeclared activities outside the staff member’s role or harassment, Olaf said.

In some cases, the watchdog recommended disciplinary proceedings, as in the case of parliamentary assistants who are paid for missions they never attended. In other cases it advised Member States to initiate legal proceedings, for example in the case of a Member of the European Parliament who employed an assistant who had another full-time job.

In total, the body advised to recover approximately €427 million and prevented the misuse of approximately €198 million.

This includes tackling the circumvention of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, for which Olaf monitors unusual flows of goods and customs data. For example, it can detect sanctioned goods entering the EU.

But Olaf also fights more traditional fraud and smuggling, and that is anything but boring. One operation involved fighting the trade in endangered glass eels, and the watchdog found an estimated 46 percent of honey imported into the EU had been tampered with.

What to watch today

  1. The OECD updates its global economic outlook, from 0840 am.

  2. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, meets with Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, presidential candidate of the COP28.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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