Századvég survey reveals growing dissatisfaction with Ursula von der Leyen's leadership

The survey highlights the European Commission's failures in managing migration, inflation, and the energy crisis.

On June 18, for the first time since the European parliamentary elections, the heads of state and government of the European Union gathered for an informal working dinner. The primary topic of discussion was the appointment of future Brussels leadership. Although no official decisions were made regarding EU leadership positions, media reports suggest that Ursula von der Leyen, the EPP president of the European Commission, might retain her position, as she enjoys the support of most member state leaders. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán expressed concerns over this development, asserting that the European People's Party, under Manfred Weber, who has taken on "a devilish role," has definitively aligned with the left and liberals, forming a pro-war, anti-economy, and pro-migration coalition, accelerating Europe towards war.

According to the Századvég Europe Project survey, which examined public opinions on Ursula von der Leyen and her European Commission's performance in 2023 and 2024, there is widespread dissatisfaction. The European Union has faced significant challenges in recent years, including migration pressure and the economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The survey revealed that the European public is largely dissatisfied with the European Commission's crisis management efforts, with von der Leyen and the Brussels bureaucracy receiving notably negative evaluations.


In 2023, over three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents who held an opinion on the matter viewed the Brussels bureaucracy unfavorably. By 2024, 55 percent held a negative view of Ursula von der Leyen. This dissatisfaction stems from a disconnect between the Brussels elite's policies and the expectations of European citizens. The survey showed that a significant majority of Europeans are unhappy with Brussels' handling of the migration crisis (63 percent) and efforts to curb inflation and energy prices (63 percent).

The survey also highlighted that 64 percent of Europeans believe the current energy crisis is partly due to the European Commission's flawed energy policies. This sentiment is prevalent across all member states, with the highest dissatisfaction levels in Slovenia and Greece (78 percent), followed by Portugal and Bulgaria (71 percent). Even the lowest levels of dissatisfaction, in Finland (55 percent), Hungary (54 percent), and Denmark (51 percent), surpass the majority threshold. The energy crisis intensified in 2021 when global energy supplies tightened, and the EU faced severe challenges. Instead of altering its approach, von der Leyen's administration pursued stricter climate goals and further reduced traditional energy capacities, exacerbating the situation.

The European Union's sanction-based policies, particularly those aimed at Russia, have failed to curb Russia's military ambitions. The 2023 Europe Project survey revealed that in 15 of the 27 EU member states, more respondents were critical of Brussels' war sanctions policy than supportive.


The survey data also indicates that many Europeans feel that the decisions made by Brussels institutions do not represent their countries' interests. More than half of the respondents (52 percent) believe that the EU institutions and the Brussels political elite disregard their nation's interests. In 19 of the 27 member states, this view is held by a majority of respondents.


Moreover, in 20 out of 27 member states, a majority of respondents consider it unjust for Brussels to withhold EU funds from certain countries due to political disagreements. 

This widespread negative perception of the Brussels elite's political performance and the perceived disconnect between EU bureaucracy and member states' interests suggest that another term for Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission might not reflect the will of the majority of European citizens but rather be the result of political bargaining.