Executive Summary

Ahead of the decisive elections on 6-9 June, the 6th edition of our Allianz Pulse survey finds huge divisions in views of the EU. We asked 6,000 people in the large member countries Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland, as well as Austria, about their views on political and economic issues, and their outlook for the future. We found that only the Spanish (net percentage: +25.8%) and Austrian (+21.5%) respondents seem happy to be part of the EU. In Germany (which used to be “pro-European”), Italy and Austria, the opinions are almost evenly split, while French respondents remain firmly “anti-European” (-22.3%).

Inflation and the cost of living, jobs and the economy and healthcare are the most pressing concerns. By far the most important topic is economic growth (50.5% of the total sample); it is the number one issue in all countries, except Austria. Indeed, most respondents are gloomy about the economy, albeit to different degrees. While French (net percentage: -45%) and latterly also German (-32.3%) respondents are very pessimistic about the current economic situation, Polish respondents are by far the most optimistic ones, though pessimists still dominate (-2.8%). In Italy, thanks to better economic performance in recent years, the sentiment has improved, though it remains rather gloomy (-17.6%). The inequality issue ranks as a distant second (37.4%), followed by the education system (33.5%). But the green transformation still hardly matters for most respondents (20.2%), and another favorite topic in Brussels – common debt – also fails to catch respondents’ interest: only 16.5% of them deem it important.

The EU’s green targets remain contentious. There are almost as many respondents who see them as not ambitious enough (20.0%) as respondents who think the opposite (26.3%). 25.8% agree with the targets, but 17.8% also dismiss them as impractical or “nonsense” (and 10.4% have no clue). Furthermore, the “anti-green” camp is on the rise among the older respondents. This has widened the generational divide in this topic.

We also find different stages of polarization across Europe. We find that in both Germany and Austria, 81% of the respondents self-reported to be in the center of the political spectrum (center, center-right and center-left). The respondents gravitating towards the center were less numerous in Italy (67%), Poland (62%), and Spain (57%), with the lowest share in France  at only 49%.

When it comes to picking a side in an increasingly fragmented global order, there is a general consensus: the notion of a sovereign and open Europe. Less than 30% of respondents think that the EU should align itself with one of the emerging blocks, with 20.4% for the US and 7.9% for China. The overwhelming majority would like to see the continuation of the status quo – or even the emergence of Europe as a “third” independent power, keeping an equidistance from China and the US.

Beyond geopolitics, European respondents are also concerned about generative artificial intelligence pushing up inequality. The mass deployment of GenAI will undoubtedly have an impact on the economy, jobs and our personal lives. The lower the income of our respondents, the more likely they were to consider the potential impacts to be negative. Younger respondents were also more likely to consider AI as a job killer.

Despite the divisions and concerns, Europe is not lost. The majority of respondents can rally behind one “simple” goal: economic growth. If the next EU Commission listens and streamlines its several initiatives and programs towards growth it might become quite successful, lifting the image of the EU in the process.


Arne Holzhausen

Allianz SE

Patricia Pelayo-Romero

Allianz SE