Survey shows that nine out of ten Europeans think the EU should support developing countries in energy access

Published on Friday, 13 April 2012 10:44
Posted by Scott Buckler

A new survey today revealed that 95% of Europeans think that access to energy is an important precondition for overcoming poverty in developing countries. In fact, nine out of ten EU citizens want the EU to help people in developing countries to gain access to energy

The Flash Eurobarometer survey comes shortly ahead of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels on the 16th April, which will bring together the EU, UN and developing countries with industry, civil society and the private sector. Participants will include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Commission President Barroso, Dr Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women.

"I'm happy to note that Europeans see energy as a vital requisite for overcoming poverty in developing countries. Energy is essential for delivering health, education, food, and all basic needs. Investing in access to clean energy in the poorest countries will help to achieve the double goal of sustainable and inclusive growth and mitigating climate change", EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs commented.

He added: "During the upcoming EU Energy Summit, the EU will announce its ambition to move up a gear to "energise development". We will remain a leader in helping developing countries to achieve universal access to energy for all."

Key results of the Flash Eurobarometer:

95% of Europeans think that having access to energy is important for overcoming poverty (61% think it is very important; 34% think it is fairly important). This is slightly lower than other areas that were also tested in this survey, such as water and sanitation (100%), food (98%) or peace and security (99%).

90% think that the EU should support developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy (48% totally agree and 42% tend to agree).

82% think that the percentage of EU development aid that is spent on improving energy access should be higher than its current level of 2% (42% totally agree and 40% tend to agree).

77% of respondents believe that the main future source of energy for developing countries should be renewable energies, such as wind, hydropower and solar. Few respondents think that oil, coal or gas (7%), nuclear (6%), or biomass (4%) should be prioritised.

A majority of respondents think that not having access to energy creates the biggest problems in people's lives when it comes to cooking and preserving food (58%) and having access to healthcare (52%). (A maximum of two answers was possible.)

83% think that the EU itself benefits from supporting developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy, through things such as increased trade or the creation of jobs (41% totally agree and 42% tend to agree).

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