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The continued relevance of EU environmental policy: highlights of the latest Eurobarometer survey

A new Eurobarometer survey found that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of citizens believe the environment has a direct effect on their daily lives. And more than four in five respondents (84 per cent) agree that EU environmental legislation is necessary for protecting the environment in their country. These results are nearly identical to those from the last survey conducted in 2019, highlighting the continued relevance of EU environmental policy.

“The results of this survey confirm the importance that green policies play in Europeans’ daily lives,” said Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius. “I am encouraged to see this strong support for actions ranging from circular economy developments to nature restoration, at the heart of the European Green Deal. It is also clear that citizens think there is still more work to do to protect the environment, especially in areas such as chemical safety and water resilience.”

Greece is leading the Central and Southeastern European region, with around 90 per cent of citizens saying that the environment impacts their daily lives and health.

Citizens are also concerned about the costs of pollution. 92 per cent of Europeans say that companies should pay for the costs of cleaning up their pollution, while 74 per cent agree that public authorities should pay for the costs.

The survey revealed also that citizens consider promoting the circular economy as the most effective way of tackling environmental problems in 11 Member States, followed by restoring nature (considered the most important in Greece, Estonia and Bulgaria).

Generally, there is a readiness towards more sustainable consumer behaviour with almost six in ten respondents willing to pay more for sustainable products that are easier to repair, recyclable and/or produced in an environmentally sustainable way. As part of a more circular economy, citizens support reducing the amount of waste by sorting their waste for recycling correctly and using reusable packaging.

Over three quarters (78 per cent) of Europeans consider that the EU should propose additional measures to address water-related problems in Europe. Regarding hazardous chemicals, over half of Europeans (52 per cent) consider that the actual level of protection of human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals is too low and should be increased.

When asked about the main threats linked to water issues in their country, the majority of the respondents mention pollution, followed by overconsumption and wasting water. When asked if national stakeholders are currently doing enough to use water efficiently, a majority of respondents considered that none of the stakeholders are doing so.

More than four in five respondents (84 per cent) are worried about the impact of harmful chemicals present in everyday products on their health, while a similar proportion (84 per cent) are worried about the impact of such chemicals on the environment. 72 per cent of Europeans also state that they take into account the chemical safety of products when making purchases.

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