Young people tend to support more strong leaders and the idea of European army than older generations. Although democracies are under pressure, overall people still endorse democracy and see globalisation as an opportunity.
These are some takeaways from the presentation and roundtable discussion on the recent survey “Democracies under pressure: a global opinion” by the US think tank International Republican Institute (IRI) and the French Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique (Fondapol) on 9 October 2019 at ICDS.
The event was hosted by the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at ICDS. The main findings of the study were presented by one of its authors, Thibault Muzergues from IRI. The author of the Estonian case study, MP Yoko Alender, spoke about the results concerning Estonia. Tõnis Saarts from Tallinn University, an expert of political parties and challenges to modern democracies such as populism, commented the findings.
The study by IRI and Fondapol is based on a global survey, which asked 36,295 citizens in 42 democracies in Europe (including Estonia), the Americas and the Asia-Pacific about their attitudes toward democracy, as well as their hopes and fears for the future.
The survey is divided into two volumes: the first volume is dedicated to the relevant themes and issues while the second volume focuses on the 42 countries of the survey. Some of the findings of the survey include:
- generational differences may lead to different attitudes towards democracy,
- younger generations seem to have different worries and concerns than older generations,
- the citizens surveyed are generally satisfied with their standard of living but feel that the way of life in their country is threatened,
- law and order institutions such as the police and armed forces are widely supported,
- there is distrust in political parties and the media, people are worried about immigration,
- democratic societies prefer more order even if it means less freedom, and
- the fact that Europeans are in favour of treating immigration at the European Union level.
Read also an opinion piece by Kristi Raik, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at ICDS on the same topic: Nordic ideals of Estonia and Finland: a longing for a strong leader sets Finland and Estonia apart from Scandinavia