Publication Launch: Middle-Class Concerns and European Challenges

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Based on an extensive online survey carried out in all 27 EU member states, a new Martens Centre paper studies the position, aspirations, expectations and fears of Europe’s middle classes concerning some of the key challenges facing the EU.

Results reveal an acute economic insecurity among EU citizens, especially in the lower social strata. It also shows that this is a threat to political stability, as it feeds into a crisis of trust in public institutions and political parties. Concerns are most strongly expressed in the economic field, but also extend to the possible consequences of the war in Ukraine and broader geopolitical realignments.

Citizens, however, also think that most challenges can be tackled. They have a high estimation of the problem-solving capacity of civil-society actors and a relatively high level of trust in the EU. Centre–right policies on security, immigration and the economy retain great appeal among the European middle classes, though there is a need to better connect with the lower middle classes.

What are the values, fears and expectations of Europe’s middle classes, and are there significant country and regional differences? What are the most critical areas that require attention? And what measures can national and European policy makers take to improve the cohesion and stability of our societies and democratic systems?