In pandemic crisis: 71% of Europeans support universal basic income

6 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have substantially increased support among Europeans for radical solutions, according to a ground-breaking survey published today by a team led by leading Oxford academic, Professor Timothy Garton Ash.

The survey’s remarkable findings reveal that more than half (53%) of young Europeans think authoritarian states are better equipped than democracies to tackle the climate crisis. And some 71% of all those interviewed support the radical idea of a universal basic income - and no fewer than 84% are in favour of a mandatory minimum wage. In the UK, 68% support a universal basic income.

Professor Garton Ash says, ‘These striking results reveal remarkably positive attitudes across Europe to what was previously seen as a radical, if not utopian idea. But remarkable as well is the perception among the young that authoritarian governments may be best at handling climate change - combined with a reluctance, which the survey also reveals, to have governments ban anything they enjoy!’

These are among the findings of a survey designed by the Europe's Stories research team, led by Professor Garton Ash at St Antony's College, Oxford. It was conducted in March this year, as the pandemic was leading to lockdowns across Europe, by the highly-respected eupinions survey project of the Bertelsmann Foundation.

See Professor Garton Ash's report here and a news report on the University of Oxford website here.

Notes for Editors

  1. Professor Garton Ash is available for interview: requests to Selma Kropp by email to [email protected] or via. [email protected] ....Twitter: @EuropeanMoments, @eupinions and @fromTGA. 
  2. A universal basic income, whereby all citizens would be entitled to a basic income paid by the government irrespective of their employment status, has been suggested by some economists and political thinkers as a way of responding to challenges such as inequality and automation.
  3. More than 100 interviews can be seen on, with Europeans talking about their formative, best and worst European moments, and their hopes for Europe in 2030. Read more here [opinions/eupinions
  4. Since face-to-face interviewing is impossible during the pandemic, the Oxford team has developed a self-interviewing facility and everyone is encouraged to record a 10 minute self-interview, on smartphone, tablet or laptop, reflecting on their own crucial European moments and hopes for Europe in 2030.

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