Eurobarometer: citizens have a positive opinion on EU regional funding

Nov 13, 2023

Discover the latest insights from the Eurobarometer survey “Citizens’ Awareness and Perception of EU Regional Policy”, a comprehensive collection of cross-country public opinion surveys conducted on behalf of EU Institutions since 1974. Published in October 2023, this survey delves into crucial aspects of citizens’ perspectives on EU regional policy.

Survey highlights and key findings

Citizens’ awareness and opinion on EU regional policy support

The survey explores citizens’ opinions on geographical regions and areas of investment that the EU should target. It addresses decision-making perspectives regarding regional investments.

Overall awareness of EU-funded projects has increased to 39%, marking a significant 5-percentage point rise since 2010.
Among those familiar with EU-funded projects, a remarkable 79% believe in their positive impact on the regions.

Public awareness of Cross-Border Cooperation and macro-regional strategies

The survey sheds light on public awareness regarding cross-border cooperation. It delves into four EU macro-regional strategies, including the Baltic Sea, Danube, Adriatic and Ionian Sea, and Alpine regions.

Overall awareness of cross-border cooperation has increased from 19% in 2010 to 26% in 2023, and border regions are gaining attention as preferred targets for investment. Macro-regional strategy awareness has also seen a surge:

  • Baltic Sea Region Strategy: 14%
  • Alpine Region Strategy: 9%
  • Danube River Region Strategy: 9%
  • Adriatic and Ionian Sea Region Strategy: 7%

EU funding perception and regional disparities

Notably, 46% of respondents have heard about the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and/or the Cohesion Fund, while 45% are aware of the European Social Fund. Awareness of Interreg stands at 11%.

Countries with higher awareness also tend to have more less-developed regions targeted by EU initiatives.
63% of respondents advocate for EU investment in all regions, emphasizing a broad regional development approach. A significant 33% of the repondents believe the EU should focus investments exclusively on poorer regions.

Access the full Eurobarometer Report here