The Portuguese – often dubbed a race of pessimists – are suddenly much more optimistic about the future than the average European.
This is the bottom line of conclusions drawn from the latest Eurobarometer which shows that ‘positive perceptions’ here have increased to the point that more than a third of citizens believe the national economy will improve over the next year.
This was the highest score in the EU.
Positive perceptions started increasing after October’s elections which returned PS Socialists – albeit without a working majority. And although the ‘perception of the state of the national economy remains negative’ it is now much closer to the ‘average perception’ of citizens elsewhere in the EU.
What is interesting is the ‘Portuguese perception of the economic situation of the EU’. While, on average, only 19% of people throughout the community believe this will improve over the course of this year, in Portugal that figure is 31% – topped only by the citizens of Romania where 33% believe the EU’s economy will get better this year.
This latest study was taken between November 14-29 last year, and found Portuguese fairly pleased with the functioning of democracy as well.
Say reports, 61% of those questioned answered favourably against a European average of just 54%.
Health and Social Security were areas where answers were perhaps less convincing, with Portugal taking the 3rd slot of countries ‘most concerned about health’, behind Finland and Slovakia.
But when it comes to ‘contentment with Europe’, there was no doubt. Only 25% of those taking part in the questioning believed Portugal would be better off outside the community. Young people and students showed themselves to be particularly pro-EU, with 94% identifying strongly with the idea of being European, as opposed simply to being Portuguese.