Gallup has been commissioned by the Anna Lindh Foundation to conduct the first Euro-Mediterranean Survey on Intercultural trends. It is the first time that such a survey has been envisaged on such a scale, with the ambitious objective of assessing the convergence and differences of genuine Euro-Mediterranean public opinion and attitudes. The Euro-Mediterranean Survey will be conducted every three years using a random sample with 1,000 completed interviews per country among the general population. Countries will be covered on a rotating basis. The first Survey was conducted in August and September 2009 in several European countries and countries bordering the southern and eastern Mediterranean. In this first wave, the European countries that were included were Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the countries bordering the southern and eastern Mediterranean were Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Turkey. In Turkey and the countries from the European group, interviews were conducted via Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) and in countries bordering the southern and eastern Mediterranean by face-to-face interviews. In Hungary, 700 interviews were carried out by CATI, and 300 by face-to-face, in order to increase coverage.
The development of indicators to be monitored on a regular basis and based on variables and items such as the interest in cultural diversity, knowledge of cultural differences, spaces of encounter, multiple identity belonging, religion, mutual perceptions and intercultural dialogue will help to bridge the gap in perceptions and in understanding the existing differences and divergences between people and communities across the two shores of the Mediterranean. It will also help tackle misperceptions and rebuild human and cultural bridges in the Mediterranean region and ultimately facilitate the actions of civil society, decision-makers and opinion-leaders. The result will be a dialogue with the long-term perspective of shaping the Euro-Mediterranean space as an area of cooperation, exchange, mobility and peace’ as expressed in the ambitious but humanist core values and objectives of the Foundation.
The results of the Survey are analysed at an overall level for both groups of countries – the European countries, and those of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, and at country level. For most questions, differences between responses based on socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents also are analysed.
A Shared Good Image but Different Perceptions of the Region
Respondents from European countries and from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries had a different perception of what the Mediterranean region is. When asked about the countries which spontaneously came to their mind when thinking about that Region , Europeans tended to think about European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, while respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries rather thought about their neighbours.
Indeed, the countries that came to mind to most Europeans when thinking about the Mediterranean region were Italy (72%), Spain (65%), Greece (54%), France (39%) and Turkey (30%). Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, Egypt (38%), Syria (36%), Lebanon (34%) and Morocco (28%) were most often cited. However, in both groups of countries, a fifth to a quarter of respondents gave the name of one of the countries of the other group. For example, in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, such a share named Italy (26%), Spain (24%), France (22%) and Turkey (21%) (Chart 1.1). In general, interviewees from European countries cited more country names than those from southern or eastern Mediterranean countries.
Respondents shared a good image of the Region: when presented with several associations that people may have when thinking about the Region, respondents from both groups tended to choose positive characteristics over negative ones. Over three-quarters of respondents thought that the Region was somewhat or strongly characterised by its hospitality, its lifestyle and food, a common cultural heritage and history and its creativity. Approximately seven in ten respondents had negative associations such as the Region’s resistance to change, environmental challenges in those countries and the Region as a source of conflict. Despite this commonality, respondents from the two groups differed in their answers. For instance, Europeans more often associated the Mediterranean region with a certain lifestyle and food than respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (90% vs. 75%), and more often perceived the Region as a source of conflict (73% vs. 61%) (Chart 1.2).
At the country level, it was observed that among Europeans, German, Greek and Swedish respondents were particularly likely to strongly or somewhat agree with any of the proposed traits, while the French were least likely to agree with any of the listed characteristics. Indeed, nearly all German, Greek and Swedish respondents agreed somewhat or strongly that the Mediterranean region was characterised by its hospitality (97%, 94% and 93%), while the French were the least likely among European interviewees to agree. (Chart 1.3) However, even in France, a large majority still associated the Mediterranean with a certain way of life and cuisine (82%). German (83%), Swedish and Greek respondents (both 82%) were also most likely to see the Region as a potential source of conflict, while only six in ten of the French respondents thought that way (62%). Greek respondents were the most likely to strongly agree with this negative characteristic, with almost half of respondents (48%) perceiving the Mediterranean region that way. Among respondents interviewed in the countries bordering the southern and eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea, it was the Moroccans who most strongly felt that the characterisitcs listed in the Survey characterised their region (Chart 1.4).
Concerning creativity, Moroccans were not only among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, but among all survey participants the most likely to strongly agree that this was a characteristic of the Region (53%); altogether, 86% of Moroccans agreed with this description ('strongly' and 'somewhat' answers). An exception to this pattern was the Mediterranean way of life and food, which was for Turkish respondents most often a trait of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region (75% altogether, including 42% who strongly agreed), and for Moroccan respondents least often (72% overall, including 32% who strongly agreed) (Chart 1.5).
Concerning differences between the various sociodemographic groups, stable patterns were observed across all items for both groups. In general, immigrants or children of immigrants, city-dwellers, the higher educated, employees and students were most likely to somewhat or strongly agree that the characteristics given in the Survey described Mediterranean countries well. For example, nine in ten respondents who had either immigrated themselves (93%), or who had parents who had immigrated (90%), who lived in a town or a city (both 89%), and who were either students or worked as employees agreed that the Region was characterised by its hospitality. On average, 86% of respondents thought so. There were no significant differences based on gender and age. Men, for example, were only slightly more likely than women to agree with the different characteristics listed in the Survey.
In order to find out more about the attractiveness of Europe and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region as places to live, participants in the Survey were asked which place they would choose to start a new life with their families if they had a free choice in the destination. Results indicate that Europe was the most attractive place to live. Indeed, two-thirds of respondents from Europe would stay in Europe if they had a free choice, and nearly four in ten of those living in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries would move to Europe (37%). 8% of the latter would move to a country of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, 16% to Africa, and about one in ten to a Gulf country (13%), Asia (11%) or America (8%). Other places were named by 5%. For Europeans the second most attractive place was the United States (12%) and countries not listed in the Survey (9%). 4% would choose a country bordering the southern or the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and 3% of each would go to Africa and Asia. Only 1% of European respondents dreamt of moving to any of the Gulf states. When looking more in detail at where respondents wanted to move to, it appeared that the share of respondents who simply wanted to stay in their current country was important. (Chart 1.6)
However it varied quite widely on both shores of the Mediterranean. Indeed, between 16% in the UK and two-thirds in Turkey (64%) named their current country of residence as the place they would ideally want to live in. About a third of Germans (28%), Bosnians (30%), Swedes (32%), Lebanese and Syrians (both 33%) named their own country, as did at least four in ten Egyptian (39%), Morrocan, French (both 44%) and Greek respondents (46%). Finally, half of Hungarians would choose Hungary (51%) and six in ten Spanish respondents would choose Spain.
A High Mutual Interest about Culture and Economy
A majority of respondents in both country groups were interested in news and information about the other countries’ cultural life, lifestyle and economic conditions. Interest in the other group’s religious beliefs and practices and lifestyle and culture was more pronounced among Europeans, however, interest in economic topics was equally high on both sides of the Mediterranean. Indeed, three-quarters of European respondents were interested in the southern and eastern Mediterranean cultural life and lifestyle (61%), and 45% said that they were interested in religion in that Region too. Six in ten respondents in both groups wanted to hear information and news about the economic conditions in the other group. However, slightly more respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries said that they were very interested in the other groups’economy than vice versa (20% vs. 14%) (Chart 1.9).
At country level, respondents from Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Syria showed a particularly high interest in learning more about the other group’s culture, religion and economy (Chart 1.8).
Indeed, among the European countries, interest in the culture and lifestyle of countries on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean was most pronounced in Germany (84%), while British respondents showed the least interest (66%). Beside Germany, those who were very interested in news and information about culture and lifestyle were particularly numerous in Bosnia and Herzegovina (37%) and Greece (35%). In southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, Moroccans were most interested in Europe’s culture and lifestyle (71%). Among those who were very interested, Syrians stood out (28%) (Chart 1.8).
Interest in religious beliefs and practices ranged from two-thirds in Bosnia and Herzegovina (67%) and Germany (65%) to half of respondents in France (51%) and Spain (50%) on the one hand, and from 54% in Turkey to one third in Egypt (35%) on the other. Also on this topic, survey participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina (30%), Germany (24%) and Syria (23%) were particularly numerous to say they were very interested in learning more about religious beliefs and practices on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Among southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, differences of interest in the European economy were less pronounced. Syrians, however, were the most likely to be very interested in Europe’s economic conditions (35%). In both country groups, participants who were born in a different country than the one they were currently living in or those whose parents had immigrated were more interested in getting news and information about the other country group. For example, 62% of those who had immigrated to their current home country in Europe and of those whose parents were immigrants said they were interested in religious beliefs and practices in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, compared to 56% of those without an immigration background. Moreover, respondents with a higher level of education and people living in a town or in a large city showed in general a higher curiosity towards countries from the other group. Concerning gender and occupation, however, answering patterns differed between the two country groups. Among European respondents, women were more likely to show an interest in the topics listed in the Survey, while among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries men were slightly more likely to do so. Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, students and employees were keenest to learn more on any of the topics, while among Europeans this pattern was less stable. There were, for example, no significant differences among occupational groups concerning economic conditions. However, students and employees were slightly more interested in getting information on cultural life and lifestyle (79% and 78% vs. 76% on average), as were students concerning religious beliefs and practices (62% vs. 57% on average).
Friends and Family in Europe - Holidays in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean
Four in ten southern and eastern Mediterranean survey participants had friends or relatives in Europe (42%). This link was particularly strong in Turkey (61%), Morocco (58%) and Lebanon (55%), where over half of respondents said that they had friends or relatives living in Europe. In Syria and Egypt however, emigration to Europe had taken place on a lower scale. A large majority of Syrians (73%) and Egyptians (88%) did not have friends or family in Europe. Men, respondents with an immigration background, the least educated, those living in a large town and students more often said they had friends or relatives in Europe. Germany, France and Italy were the top three European destinations for respondents’ friends and relatives: in most southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, these three countries appeared in the top 3 of the most often cited states where the respondents’ friends or family lived. For example, three-quarters of the Turkish respondents who had friends or relatives in Europe said they lived in Germany (75%), 22% in France and 18% in the Netherlands. Germany was also most often named in Syria (36%), followed by France (14%) and Italy (13%). France was the top destination for friends and relatives of Moroccan (43%) and Lebanese (42%) respondents, followed by Spain (36%) and Italy (28%) and Germany (31%) and Sweden (9%) (Lebanese respondents). Egyptian respondents had most of their friends and family in Italy (27%), France (14%) and Germany (7%) (Chart 1.10).Europeans participating in the Survey were asked whether they had ever visited one of the countries bordering the southern or eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Approximately one third of European respondents reported having been there (36%), while just under two thirds said they had never visited that Region (63%). Southern and eastern Mediterranean countries were a popular holiday destination, particularly for Swedes, half of whom said they had travelled to one of those countries (51%). Over four in ten German, French (43%) and British respondents (42%) had done so too. Respondents from Spain (26%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (23%) had least often travelled to that Region (Chart 1.11).
A significant share of Europeans who had visited the Mediterranean Region had been to Turkey: in five of the eight European countries where respondents were asked that question, Turkey was the most often cited holiday destination. Indeed, half of German, Swedish and Greek respondents who had already travelled to that Region had gone to Turkey, as had a third of Hungarians and 27% of Bosnians who had visited the Region . For Spaniards, the top destination was Morocco (48%), while for the French it was Tunisia (45%) and Spain for British survey participants (40%). Beside Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy and Greece were most often found among the countries which Europeans had visited. The top-3 destinations for French tourists were the Maghreb countries, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria; Croatia came second for respondents from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The likelihood to have visited any of the countries on the southern and eastern shore of the Mediterranean increased with age and with the level of education. For example, 41% of those aged 50 or more have had the chance to visit any of those countries, compared to only 30% of 15-29 year-olds and 36% of 30-49 year olds (Chart 1.13).
Furthermore, men, those whose parents had immigrated to Europe, large city dwellers and the self-employed, employees and pensioners were more likely to have already visited the Region . For example, half of those whose parents were not born in the country they currently lived in said so (49%), compared to only a third of those without an immigration background (35%).
A Low Level of Interaction But Perceived Commonalities
Except in Sweden and France, only a minority of respondents said they had had contact with people from the other country group over the past year: one-third of Europeans and a quarter of respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries said they had met or talked to people from the other country group, while a majority of 64% and 76% respectively had not. Among Europeans, Swedish (52%) and French respondents (51%) most often said they had personally met or talked to people from countries bordering the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, while those from Hungary had done so least often (12%). In southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, Lebanese respondents were the ones who had most often had contact with people from Europe (41%), while only one in ten Egyptian (9%) or Syrian (8%) had met or talked to Europeans in the past year (Chart 1.12).
Among respondents from the southern and the eastern Mediterranean, men, 15-29 years old, first- or second-generation immigrants, respondents with an average or higher level of education (that is to say, secondary level of education, college or university), those living in a large town or a suburb and employees and students were the most likely to declare that they had met or that they had talked to Europeans. Among Europeans, the picture was similar. However, here it was in particular the 15-49 years old, those who went to college or university, large city dwellers and the self-employed who said they had met or talked to people from the other country group in the past twelve months. Europeans who had met people from the southern and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean had done so most often for business reasons (38%) or during a journey or a holiday trip (23%). Respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries most often said that they had talked to Europeans on the Internet (24%). Among them, however, business contacts (22%) and tourism (21%) followed closely. Similar shares of respondents declared in both groups that they had met people from the other countries on the street or in public places (17% Europeans, 18% southern and eastern Mediterranean countries) or because they lived in the neighbourhood (17% vs. 14%). Among Europeans, the Internet was only rarely a place where they talked to people from the southern or the eastern Mediterranean (4%). Other places of interaction were named by one fifth of European respondents (19%) and one in ten respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (11%) (Chart 1.14).
Men, 30-49 year-olds, those the highest level of education, the self-employed and employees were most likely to have met people from the other group for business reasons. Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, large city dwellers were also more likely to have done so. Europeans who were born themselves in another country or whose parents were also more likely to have met people from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries for business reasons in the past twelve months.
The socio-demographic profile of respondents who have met people from the other country group in while doing tourism clearly differed between the two groups. Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries it was most often those with the highest level of education, those living in the suburbs of a large town and homemakers who had met people from Europe that way, while in the latter, students and those aged 65 or older were most likely to have met people from the southern and eastern Mediterranean during a trip. In both groups, 15-29 year olds and students were the most likely to have met people over the Internet. Among respondents living in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries , the most educated respondents and those living in a large town or its suburbs were also more likely to have met Europeans over the Internet. Among other differences observed was for example that women from that region more often had met or talked to people from Europe in the neighbourhood than men.
Six in ten Europeans (62%) and 45% of respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean stressed that they had more commonalities than differences with people from the other country group. Indeed, approximately seven in ten British (71%), Greek and German respondents (68%) who had met people from the southern and eastern shore of the Mediterranean in the past year said that there were more commonalities than differences between them. Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean, Moroccans felt most often similar to Europeans (59%). In both groups, those with the highest level of education and students said more often that the people they had met had more commonalities than differences with them.
Shared and Different Key Values
Among respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, in addition to those, metropolitan residents and women also felt more often close to Europeans, while men and those living in a rural area and a small or middle-sized town and pensioners were more likely to stress the differences. Among European respondents, those aged 50-64, second-generation immigrants and those living in a small or middle-sized town thought that commonalities were bigger than differences, while first-generation immigrants, those aged 64 and older and respondents with 'another' profession were more likely to feel that people from the southern and eastern Mediterranean were similar to them.
One of the aims of the Survey was also to find out whether values were shared or differed between respondents from European countries and those from the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. In order to find out more about respondents’ key values, survey participants were read out a list and asked which of those values were the two most important to them in the upbringing of their children (respondents had to give their first priority and then the second). Results revealed clear differences in respondents’ key values between the southern and eastern Mediterranean and European countries. While religion was most important to respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, Europeans felt that 'respect for other cultures' and 'family solidarity' were the most important values they wanted to transmit to their children. Indeed, approximately six in ten respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries named religious beliefs as the first or second most important value in raising their children (62%), while less than one European respondent in six did so (14%) (Chart 1.15).
Concerning respect for other cultures, which was the value most often cited by European respondents, the picture was the opposite: while six in ten Europeans named this value in first or second place (58%), only 17% of respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean did so. Even though for other values, differences were also observable, they were less striking. For example, a majority of 56% of Europeans placed family solidarity at the centre of their children’s education, while this was a key value for only four in ten respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (41%). And while independence was more often named by European respondents in first and second place (24% vs. 19%), respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries stressed the importance of obedience in the upbringing of their children more often (35% vs. 24%). Teaching their children to be curious, however, was important to a similar share of respondents from both groups (17% Europeans, 19% southern and eastern Mediterranean countriess) (Chart1.15).
Respondents were further asked which values they thought were central to people from their own country group and to those from the other group. It was easier for survey participants in both country groups to assess which values were central to people in their own country group than to people from the other group. Indeed, judgments about key values in the other group did not match very well the group’s own perceptions of their own key values, or respondents felt too uninformed to give an opinion. Focusing first on judgments that respondents made concerning people from their own country group, for most values, most respondents assumed their own values to be the same as their own country group. However, when assessing key values in children’s education of people from their own country group, survey participants also made some misjudgements.
Europeans thought that respect for other cultures and solidarity between family members were the most important values for other Europeans with children. However, more respondents considered these values to be a central part of their own children’s education than of other European children’s: only 46% felt that Europeans in general taught their kids to treat people from other cultures with respect and half thought that they told their children about the importance of family solidarity, compared to 58% and 50% respectively who considered this to be a central part in the upbringing of their own kids. Similar to the assessment of their own values, about a quarter of European respondents mentioned independence and obedience as first or second most important values for fellow Europeans with children, and slightly under one fifth did so concerning religious beliefs and about one in seven mentioned curiosity (Chart 1.16).
Just as they did about their own values, most respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries mentioned religion in first or second place when it came to central values in the education of children in their region. However, more respondents considered religion to be important in their own family than in other southern and eastern Mediterranean families (62% vs. 55%). Only a minority thought that parents of their region considered that it was most important that their kids learned how to be independent (20%), curious (15%) and respectful of people from other cultures (14%); these levels were similar to what was actually mentioned (19% for both independence and curiosity, and 17% for respectfulness). However, more respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries thought that family solidarity was a central value in educating their own kids than it was for other parents in the Region (41% own values, 32% others’ values), while respondents thought that obedience was more important to other parents than to themselves (40% others’ values vs. 35% own values) (Chart 1.17).
When guessing the central values of people from the other country group, respondents largely misjudged the values reported by the other group. Respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries clearly overrated the importance of individualistic values like independence and curiosity for Europeans, and underrated the importance of family solidarity, respect for other cultures and obedience. Europeans, on the other hand, overrated the importance of respect for other cultures for respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean and underrated the importance of all other values.
Indeed, nearly six in ten respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries thought that it was most important to European parents that their children learned how to be independent (57%), and 44% thought that they wanted their kids to be curious (Chart 1.16). Only one in five Europeans, however, had mentioned independence in first or second place (19%) as a key value of their education, and only 13% had done so for curiosity. On the other hand, only a quarter of respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries thought that Europeans wanted their kids to be respectful of other cultures, 17% thought that family solidarity was important to Europeans, and 14% thought that they wanted their kids to be obedient. 58%, 56% and 24% of European respondents, however, had mentioned those values as being the most or second most important value that they taught their kids (Chart 1.15).
Europeans misjudged the values of parents in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries countries, too, and were generally fewer to think that the values listed in the survey were important in the upbringing of children there. Most Europeans thought for example that family solidarity was the most (or second most) important value for parents in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries countries (48%), while only 41% of respondents from that region had chosen this as an important value. Respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries countries had rather put religious beliefs as a top priority (62%). Europeans also underrated the importance of curiosity (7% vs. 19%), of independence (14% vs. 20%), and of obedience (28% vs. 35%) in the upbringing of children in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. They were however more likely to think that respect for other cultures was a central value for people from that region than was the case (31% vs. 17%) (Chart 1.17). Europeans were slightly more likely to say they would not know which values were key to parents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries than the opposite. 16% of European respondents said they would not know how to judge the values of southern and eastern Mediterranean countries respondents, while 14% of respondents from that region gave no judgment about values held by European parents. 'Don’t know' rates were particularly high in Bosnia and Herzegovina (27%) and in Turkey (44%).
Differences across Countries
Concerning their own personal values, Spaniards most often thought that how to respect other cultures was the most or second most important lesson that they wanted to teach to their children (68%; 41% first and 27% second mentions). Hungarians were by far most to stress the importance of family solidarity when it came to the education of children: over eight in ten respondents mentioned this value (84%), and six in ten respondents even on first place (61%). On the other hand, only three in ten Swedish (30%) and Egyptian (29%) respondents mentioned family ties. However, only a quarter of respondents (26%) thought that obedience was most important for their kids to learn to obey over other values listed in the Survey.
The Swedes were most likely to mention that they wanted their kids to grow up as curios beings (48%), while only 7% of Turkish and Greek respondents shared that view. Opinions on the importance of independence varied less across countries; the share of those who thought that kids should first and foremost be taught to be independent ranged from approximately three in ten German, Swedish (29%), and British (28%) respondents to one in ten of the interviewees in Egypt.
When looking at country results for respondents’ attitudes on the central values of other people from Europe or the southern and eastern Mediterranean, the following observations were made: Hungarians and Spanirds thought that both Europeans and people from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries held the same values when educating their children as did. For example, Hungarians were most likely to think that family solidarity was the most or second most important value of both other Europeans (68%) and people from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries in bringing up their children (66%) – however, to a lesser extent than they considered it to be important to them (84%). Spaniards were most likely to think that both other European parents (61%) and parents in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (64%) put most stress in their children’s education on teaching them how to respect other cultures – but again, to a lesser extent than it was important for themselves (68%).
Among the different countries, Lebanese respondents stood out when judging the values of other parents. Concerning the values they ascribed to Europeans, the Lebanese most frequently overstressed the importance that Europeans put on individualistic values like curiosity and independence. Indeed, nearly eight in ten Lebanese respondents thought that it was most or second most important to European parents to teach their kids how to be independent (77% total, 53% first mention), and two thirds thought that this would be the case for curiosity (66% total, 23% first mention). The Lebanese were at the same time least likely to think that it was most important to Europeans to educate their children to be obedient (5%), religious and to respect family solidarity (both 8%). Together with the Hungarians, the Lebanese were most likely to think that religious beliefs (both 66%) were the most important values for people in the southern and eastern Mediterranean in the upbringing of their children. On the other hand, they were – also together with Hungarians (9%) and Swedes (7%) -the least likely to think that parents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries wanted to teach their kids curiosity (9%).
The French (36%) and the British (37%) least often thought that raising their children religiously was most important to people in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. The Swedes tended to overestimate how important obedience was for other European parents (36%) and had among other respondents from Europe a significantly higher proportion of respondents who thought that this was a central value for parents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (42% vs. 28% on average).
Focusing on respondents’ own values, teaching kids that respect for other cultures was important was particularly often mentioned by respondents aged 50 and above, by first- and second-generation immigrants, respondents with a degree from college or university, those living in a small or middle-sized town, employees and pensioners. The latter two occupational groups were also most likely to choose family solidarity as the most or second most important value to transmit to children, as were those aged 65 or older and those who completed their full-time education after secondary school.
Respondents aged 15 to 29 most often mentioned religion as important value for children to grow up with, as did those respondents with the lowest level of education and homemakers. In addition, religion was most often stressed by both rural and metropolitan respondents.
Obedience was important to those without formal education, the unemployed and respondents living in rural areas. Those who mentioned curiosity and independence had a similar socio-demographic profile. Both values were particularly important to students and those with the highest level of education. However, curiosity was as often chosen by those without formal education than by college and university graduates. Independence was moreover particularly stressed by men, first- and second-generation immigrants, those living in a small or middle-sized town and employees.
The belief in an absolute truth was by far more widespread in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries: six in ten respondents from that region believed that there was an absolute truth, while one third thought that truth depended on the circumstances (34%). A large majority of Europeans on the other hand advanced the view that truth was relative (78%). Only one in five Europeans believed in an absolute truth (18%). In Morocco, nearly all respondents said they believed in an absolute truth (88%), and only one in ten did not. Morocco was joined at the top of the chart by Egypt, where seven in ten survey participants held this opinion (71%), as did six in ten Lebanese (62%) and Syrians (61%). The Turks were the most sceptical in that group, with nearly two-thirds of respondents who did not believe that truth was absolute (64%) vs. approximately a quarter who did (27%) (Chart 1.18).
Among European countries, respondents from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Kingdom were most likely to say that an absolute truth existed. However, they were still only a minority to say so (28% and 25%). Swedes shared that view least often: over eight in ten respondents believed that what was true or false depended on the circumstances (84%) and only just over one in eight respondents did not (13%). 15-29 year-olds, metropolitan residents, those with the lowest level of education and homemakers most often voiced the opinion that the truth was absolute (Chart 1.18).
Possible Benefits from the Union for the Mediterranean
In order to find out to what degree citizens of countries who make part of the Union for the Mediterranean support the alliance, respondents were presented with several items suggesting a positive impact of the Union on their countries. The interviewees in the southern and eastern Mediterannean countries were asked whether they thought these effects would definitely, maybe, or would not take place, and respondents from European countries were invited to name three the three effects that they thought were most likely to materialise. Most respondents from southern and eastern Mediterranean countries believed that the Union would bring advantages to their society. When presented with several hypothetical positive impacts of the Union, a relative majority of respondents thought that most of these effects would definitely take place (between 34% and 48%) and approximately one third of respondents thought that the Union would maybe have those effects (between 22% and 38%). Only a minority did not believe that these gains would materialise (between 8% and 25%). Respondents were most convinced that the Union would foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Nearly half of respondents thought the Union would definitely have this effect (48%), and 37% thought that a development in that area was possible. Only one respondent in ten excluded that possibility (8%) (Chart 1.19).
Slightly over 45% of respondents in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries thought their region would definitely witness a growing concern for environmental issues (47%), more youthful dynamism and more respect for cultural diversity (both 46%) once the Union came into effect. Approximately one third of respondents thought those effects would maybe take place and only slightly over one in ten did not believe they would. More gender equality, social solidarity and an increase in individual freedom and the rule of law were seen by approximately four in ten of the interviewed in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region as definite outcomes of the Union, and were probable in the eyes of 35%, 37% and 38% of respondents respectively. 16% of respondents did not believe that the Union could have an impact in these fields. An increased attachment to spiritual and moral values was least often anticipated by respondents. This item had the highest rate of disagreement (25%), and only approximately one third of respondents thought that this effect would definitely (34%) or maybe (35%) take place once the Union came into being. Indeed, respondents in Lebanon were most to say that it would definitely create a youthful dynamism (65%), increase the respect for cultural diversity (59%) and the concern for the environment (58%), that it would foster innovation and entrepreneurship (56%), and increase gender equality (52%). Respondents in Morocco were most to definitely think that the attachment to spiritual and moral values (50%), the individual freedom and the rule of law (48%) and social solidarity (50%) would be strengthened.
European respondents were presented with the same possible effects of the Union of the Mediterranean and asked which ones they expected for their countries. They were asked to name the three effects they thought that would most likely happen. Results show that Europeans anticipated most often that the Union would contribute to a growing respect for cultural diversity. Slightly less than half of respondents named this effect as a possible consequence of the Union for the Mediterranean (46%). One third of respondents thought the Union would foster innovation and entrepreneurship and that it would increase social solidarity (both 32%) and the concern for the environment (30%). Individual freedom (27%) and gender equality (25%) were cited by approximately a quarter of Europeans. An increase in attachment to spiritual and moral values (18%) and youthful dynamism (16%) were least often considered as probable outcomes of the Union. One in ten respondents said they did not know what effect the Union would have and 2% refused to answer (Chart 1.19).
None of the European countries stood particularly out concerning support or opposition of the Union for the Mediterranean. However, Greek, French and British were somewhat more often found on the top end of the scale (indicating that respondents from those countries were most to have chosen the respective positive item) while Bosnia and Herzegovina was somewhat more often found at the lower end of the scale. For example, four in ten Greek respondents thought that the Union would bring innovation and entrepreneurship (41%) and increase the concern for the environment (42%). The British were particularly convinced that cultural diversity would benefit from the Union (63%), and were most to mention freedom and the rule of law (36%). Moreover, the same share of French thought that the Union would bring more gender equality (36% -together with Spaniards), and youthful dynamism (22%). Respondents from Bosnia and Herzegovina were particularly critical concerning the European Union positive impact on the environment (19%), dynamism (12%) and cultural diversity (20%).
The socio-demographic analysis reveals only minor variations in the answers between socio-demographic groups. Among respondents from the southern and the eastern Mediterranean, for example, those with an average level of education (secondary level), those living in a suburb or a large town and students were for example most likely to definitely agree that the participation in the Union would bring more innovation and entrepreneurship, and increase the respect for cultural diversity, youthful dynamism, more concern for the environment and gender equality.
Concerning the immigration background of the respondents from the southern and eastern Mediterranean region (whether he or she and/or his or her parents had immigrated to the country they currently lived in), major differences were found; particularly first generation immigrants were most likely to agree on the positive impacts of the Union. For example, 64% of immigrants thought that the Union would increase social solidarity in their country, compared to 39% of those who were born in the country of residence. Also the answers of European respondents showed only minor variations according to socio-demographic groups, without a clear pattern emerging. For example, those aged 30-49, immigrants and the self-employed voiced more often their conviction that the Union would foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
A Weak Contribution of the Media to a Better Mutual Image
A majority of respondents did not have the impression that the media had improved the image of the other group of countries.
This critical assessment was particularly widespread among respondents from the European countries. Indeed, eight in ten survey participants in Europe said that the media in their countries did not encourage more positive images of people in countries bordering the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea (79%). This proportion ranged from 71% in Hungary to 86% in Sweden, while those who believed that the media had changed the image of people in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries in a positive direction ranged from 23% to 12% in those countries (Chart 1.20).
In southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, more respondents felt that the media promoted and improved the image of Europeans (31%). Indeed, between a quarter of respondents in Syria and four in ten in Lebanon gave that positive assessment, while between three-quarters (74%) in Syria and six in ten in Lebanon (59%) denied that the media had this impact. Among survey participants in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, those with the highest level of education, metropolitan residents and students were most likely to say that they remembered having read, heard or seen positive information about Europeans.
In both country groups, those who immigrated to their current home country and those whose parents had immigrated, too, more often shared that view. Respondents who said that the media had improved the image of the other country group in their home countries were further asked through which sources they received this positive image.
The most often cited source of information was the TV (58% in European and 55% in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries). Opinions diverged on other media channels. In European countries, the next most cited source was news and information in the print media (27%), while in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries films followed (20%). Documentary films came third in both groups of countries (20% and 13% respectively). Around one in ten European respondents named books (11%), the Internet (11%) and films (9%). 6% said they heard radio broadcasts, 1% named blogs and 13% 'other' sources.
Just as in the European countries, the Internet was cited by 11% and blogs by handful respondents (2%) in the Mediterranean countries, but books (4%), the radio (2%) and 'other' sources were less frequently given (6%) (Chart 1.21). Among the socio-demographic differences observed here was for example that the TV was in both country groups more often cited by respondents who had left school earliest, those living in a village or rural area and the retired and the unemployed. Among European respondents, also homemakers cited the TV more often than other occupational groups.