Bruised by Brexit, EU launches 'citizens consultation'

Brussels (AFP) –


The European Union launched an online survey on Wednesday asking the bloc's 500 million citizens for their views on the future of the bloc, still stung by Britain's decision to leave.

From whether they would like a universal basic income to tougher ones on how to handle immigration, the 12-question survey features multiple-choice tick boxes to list their preferences.

It also gives users space to outline their own views on how the EU's remaining 27 countries face up to the future, even as eurosceptic parties calling for the end of the union are on the rise.

The idea is to study and collate the answers ahead of European Parliament elections and a summit in Sibiu, Romania, which will be the bloc's first without Britain, both in May 2019.

"With the European elections around the corner, it is time to decide what the European Union at 27 should be," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"The survey we are launching today puts the question to all Europeans: What future do we want for ourselves, for our children and for our Union? Now is the time for Europeans to make their voices heard, loud and clear, on the issues that concern them and what they want their leaders to do about them."

The survey is alongside so-called "citizens' dialogues" in member states, a plan developed by French President Emmanuel Macron to counter populism.

The questionnaire was created by a panel of 100 people of different backgrounds from around the 27 countries of the EU -- all except Britain, which leaves the bloc in March 2019.

"The good thing about this method is that you get away from slogans, shouting and tweets," Luca Jahier, president of the European Economic and Social Committee, the EU institution behind the panel.

"We hope governments will use the 12 questions in their own way as a reference for their own citizens."