Who do you trust? The results from our citizens trust survey
Euroconsumers conducted surveys in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain to gauge citizen trust in institutions and the image of international companies, and we can finally share our results. Compared to our 2016 survey, trust in the European Parliament, while still low, has risen, and international companies have a rather solid reputation with citizens, but the most trusted national institutions are consumer organisations.
Trust in the European Parliament
Overall, there is a low level of trust in the European Parliament. When asked to rate their level of trust in the Parliament on a scale of 1 to 10, the highest was Portugal with an average score of 5.4. Ironically, Belgium, the home of the European Parliament, scored the lowest, with 4.1. However, our surveys found that the better citizen knowledge and level of information about the Parliament was, the higher their trust in the institution. This may point to a problematic lack of education on European institutions across EU member states.
While current trust in the Parliament is low, since our surveys in 2016, citizen’s confidence in the European Parliament has actually risen in all four surveyed countries. For example, there has been a 3% rise in Belgium and a 13% rise in Portugal.
Citizens were asked to rate from 1 to 10 the overall image they have of a number of private companies, based on their perception and experience with the firm. Although there are some slight differences per country, on average, Google achieved the best overall image with 7 points in an index of 1 to 10. This was followed by Décathlon at 6.7, and Microsoft and Ikea tying at 6.6. Although the top three vary between countries.
Interestingly, results also suggest younger respondents are more likely to view international companies favourably.
Respondents were also asked about their knowledge and trust in a number of national organisations. In all four countries, consumer organisations consistently scored amongst the most trusted national institutions. Consumer organisations were the most trusted in Portugal, and together with the national health system in Belgium.
In the wake of the pandemic, as we rebuild our society and economy to be more sustainable and digital, citizen trust will be critical in this era of profound change.
That is why we encourage institutions, such as the European Parliament, to collaborate with consumer organisations, such as Euroconsumers and its national members, to create and communicate policy that protects consumers, and builds citizen trust. Only when there is trust, can the full potential of the great changes afoot be realised.