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About the "stupid regulations" I am not so sure either. Often these are stories propagated by the press with little basis in reality, or the member states add them to EU directives when they transpose them into national legislation. But there are stupid regulations, such as the liquids ban on airplanes.
There is one data point in these polls which I found interesting: of the people who are interested in national politics, 30% are not interested in European politics.
As for the Spanish sentiment, the one glaring omission in the CIS polls is the question of ranking regional, national and european sentiment. This means that they either ask people about their regional vs. national identification, or their national vs. european identification. So the 60% of people who identify primarily as Spanish includes those who identify equally with Spain and their region above Europe.
According to the Eurobarometer, 95% of those polled have seen the EU flag, and 54% identify with it [including 68% of Italians]. It should be noted that the flag is originally the flag of the Council of Europe, a human rights organization, which includes all European countries except Belarus including Turkey, Russia and the ex-soviet Caucasian republics. As for attachment, 91% feel attached to their country, 86% to their city/town/village, and 53% to the EU. Spain and Italy are both at 62%. Interestingly, the ones who feel most attached are people from Macedonia, which isn't even a Member State. For those living in a different EU country than that which they are born in or born of foreign parents, attachment is higher at 65%.
If you want to argue that the EU and a European Identity have a long way to go, I don't think anyone will disagree with you. But if you want to argue 1) it's not happening; 2) it can't happen; 3) it's hopeless; I think you're wrong.
We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
And the emergence of Spanish identity vs. 'regional' identities might be a case in point.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
Anyway, I dont think Spanish changing their minds about feeling "european" is impossible, or hopeless. I am saying you have an uphill battle. It didnt happen overnight in the U.S. Many states used to have border wars before the revolution. Of course, there was the civil war, when half the country wanted to be their own country. The trend lately has been for countries to split up-Soviet Union, Kosovo-Serbia etc, for ethnicity reasons. Europe is trying to do the opposite of that trend.
Right now, the EU government is secondary to the member states. BUt I have the feeling that many here would prefer the opposite. I am not sure most european citizens are ready for that given the statistics you cite.
I did not cite a poll that I knew from before. I just went and found what is probably the best source of opinion polls (CIS: Spain's Institute for Sociological Investigations) and found the most recent poll on European attitudes (2004: the year of the latest European Parliament elections). I then interpreted the result. You disagree with my interpretation. What I was after was basically a measure of the strength of the sentiment, not a yes/no answer as to whether it exists.
For good measure, I just went and found the previous analogous poll, from 1999 (previous EP elections). The results were as follows:
Out of 2491 respondents,
Mostly European 5.2%
Equally Spanish and European 21.5%
Mostly Spanish 65.4%
Neither (Spontaneous) 7.1%
One of the advantages of CIS polls is, clearly, that they provide you with time series of the same questions.
So I would say the shift towards a European identity is strong, considering it's happened in only 5 years. Not that I expect you to agree.
I found a 2004 Spanish survey on attitudes to the EU. Out of a sample of 2488 people, 6.9% feel primarily European 27.0% feel equally Spanish and European 59.3% feel primarily Spanish 6.0% feel neither
If I had to make an extrapolation based on this I'd predict for 2009
Mostly European 9%
Equally Spanish and European 34%
Mostly Spanish 53%
with "mostly Spanish" dropping below 50% by 2014 and below "both equally" by 2019. By the time I'm 50 the "mostly European" group would be at 20% and the "mostly Spanish" group at 34%
We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
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