Fifty-nine percent of the Portuguese do not feel “European” and a lower number (14%) do not see any benefits in being part of the European Union, according to the autumn 2012 barometer of the European Union, which was released on Monday.
The European country which has the lowest record on feeling “proudly European” is Greece, probably due to its dramatic economic downfall after joining the EU.
The survey, conducted last November, also reveals that the free movement of people and goods is, for 27% of the Portuguese, the most positive aspect of the Union, followed by social stability and general wellbeing. The 14% who do not see any benefits are unmatched in the EU, where the average is 6%.
However, only 35% of the Portuguese claim to know their rights as European citizens, and only 36% think that it is worth knowing them – the lowest record within the whole Union.
In addition, the Portuguese, in general, are more interested in learning more about mobility rights. In other words, they seek possibilities of working or living in another EU member state or receiving better medical care elsewhere in the EU.
The interaction between the Portuguese and other Europeans is also among the lowest in the EU: only 20% claim to have visited another EU country, only 13% read a book, magazine or newspaper in a foreign language, 28% have maintained contact with somebody from another EU country and only 9% used the Internet to buy products or services from another EU country.