Britain is the most individualistic country in the EU, Europe-wide survey finds

UK tops individualism list but also values 'soldarity'

Jon Stone
Brussels
@joncstone
Tuesday 19 December 2017 16:15
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The economy made its slowest start to the year since 2012 as businesses feel uncertainty over Brexit
The economy made its slowest start to the year since 2012 as businesses feel uncertainty over Brexit

Britain is the most individualistic country in the European Union, according to a major survey of political attitudes in all 28 of the bloc’s member states.

The regular Eurobarometer survey, which is conducted by the European Commission, asked people across the continent whether, looking forward to the future, they would rather society be more based on “individualism” or “solidarity”.

British and Irish people came joint top in preferring individualism – with 29 per cent in both nations preferring to go their own way in the world. The result is more than twice the EU average of 13 per cent who preferred individualism.

Despite the unusually strong showing for individualists, British people still overall preferred a society emphasising solidarity: 52 per cent said future society should be built on that basis, while 9 per cent said both.

The next most individualistic countries were Czechia and Finland, with 24 per cent individualists, and Austria, with 22 per cent, with all other countries 20 per cent or below.

The countries that supported a solidarity-based society the most strongly were Cyprus (92 per cent to 3 per cent), France, (86 per cent to 6 per cent), and Spain, (85 per cent to 5 per cent).

Germany was unusual in that it had an extremely high proportion of citizens responding “both” when asked to choose between individualism and solidarity.

(Eurobarometer

46 per cent of Germans said both, 40 per cent said solidarity, and just 7 per cent said individualism. Other countries that emphasised both were Bulgaria, Italy, and Hungary.

Greece was the least individualistic country, with just 2 per cent saying they wanted a society base primarily on individualism.

There was no significant overall trend in the results compared to previous surveys, with attitudes varying from place to place: individualism had grown more popular in 14 countries, including Romania, Czechia, and Croatia but less popular to in 12 countries, most notably Italy.

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