The latest barometer of public opinion within the European Union has found that people living in Greece and Cyprus are least likely to feel like citizens of the EU.
A respective 56 and 55 per cent of respondents from Greece and Cyprus said they did not feel like EU citizens followed closely by the UK and Belgium where 51 per cent felt like outsiders. The results may seem odd at first glance, given the amount of outside aid these two countries have received to prop up their economies.
However, the necessary austerity policies imposed on both countries by the troika (the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank) are resented by many. One only has to look at the security surrounding German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble on his visit to Portugal last week to see where the people point the finger for their suffering.
Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras is coming under increasing pressure from politicians and the Greek people over EU austerity policies, and the fiscal reforms necessary to receive further external aid only just made it through parliament. The disillusionment of the Greek people with the EU and its demands is pushing more onto the streets every day, and as Samaras pushes on, he faces further opposition and the threat of an election as early as next year.
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Mail reported earlier today that the Nicosia Central Prisons are becoming dangerously overcrowded as more and more are jailed for non-payments of fines and other debts caused by the worsening financial crisis. And the imposition of capital controls on Cyprus at the peak of crisis in March this year would have done little to create a feeling of unity, even if the bank bail-in model ultimately worked and set the precedent for future rescues.
The disillusionment of the Greek and Cypriot people is clarified further in later questions. Just nine and 11 per cent respectively think their voice counts in the EU (average is 28 per cent) and, tellingly, 69 per cent in each feel pessimistic about the future of the EU.
As a side note, the UK's on-the-fence stance is expected, and promises a prolonged and increasingly heated debate on Britain's place in the union.