Are the French the only race to fear globalization? The future of the European Union depends for the most part on the way in which Europeans meet the challenges of globalization. But do all European citizens perceive these challenges in the same way? Which aspects are the focus of national debates? Do Europeans expressing the same expectations in terms of how globalization should be regulated?The Fondation pour l’innovation politique undertook a comparative study of eight Member States of the European Union based on the results of a unpublished opinion survey conducted jointly with the Swedish Institute Kairos Future and eight qualitative analyses of the selected countries.
The goal of the study was to compare different opinions about globalization and its regulation. The first finding was that Europeans, unlike Americans, Russians and Japanese, expressed a preference for free trade over protectionism, and for an egalitarian society over systems that reward personal success. They share a certain common view of social organization, even though the methods to achieve it vary from one European country to the next. Another finding was the respondents recognition of a “community of European values”, even though belonging to the European area was not perceived to be important in building an individual’s identity.
As for globalization, it was primarily perceived as a positive economic phenomenon, the consequence of which is to increase individual mobility. Only France and Germany failed to share this opinion, affirming that there are more threats than benefits to be derived from it. Lastly, although international corporations were clearly identified as being the primary levers of globalization — only the European Union and the WTO were deemed capable of regulating it, inasmuch as the Member States now appear to be individually far too weak to fulfil this mission.