NL residents blame negligent neighbors for Covid crisis
Netherlands residents blame people who are lax with the coronavirus rules for the coronavirus crisis. They do this much more than residents of eleven other European countries, opinion polls from think tank EFCR concluded. The cabinet and other governments and institutions fared much better.
Of the Netherlands residents interviewed by the ECFR, 63 percent blamed negligent individuals for the coronavirus epidemic and the painful measures taken to curb it. They accuse people who did not follow the rules, who traveled or came from abroad. That is a lot more than the other countries surveyed, which together make up the vast majority of the EU's population and economy. The French, Spaniards and especially the Poles are more likely to blame their government, the European Commission or China for the hardships of the past year and a half.
Three quarters of the Netherlands residents surveyed do have confidence in the cabinet's approach. Bad news for politicians who oppose the coroanvirus policy, at first glance. In countries such as France, Poland, and Bulgaria, the government not only has much less support. There it is also accused by many of trying to camouflage its own failures or even abusing the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to gain more power. In Poland and Bulgaria, even the majority thinks so.
On the other hand, Netherlands residents most of all participants, except for the Austrians, indicated that they saw their freedom lost. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, 79 percent of Netherlands residents felt free to live as they wish, now it is only 19 percent. German and Austrians in particular feel more un-free at the moment, but the difference with more carefree times is much smaller there.
That too could play a role in the politics of the coming years, researchers at the ECFR believe. Populist politicians from the far right and left have been posing as the defenders of freedom more often than before the coronavirus crisis. While centrist parties came to the conclusion that the government should take more responsibility.
Reporting by ANP.