According to a landmark Euronews poll, a majority of Europeans want their own governments to control cryptocurrency, but an increasing percentage would also accept the formation of national digital currencies in order to assert some monetary independence from the European Union.
It was also discovered that the majority of respondents in each country preferred that their own government set financial laws, compared to around a quarter who preferred that the EU make these decisions.
The large-scale survey done exclusively for Euronews by Redfield & Wilton Strategies is the most comprehensive of its type in Europe on the subject of cryptocurrency and financial regulation.
Between August 4 and 10, 31,000 people in 12 EU member countries were polled: Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
The findings come as the European Commission considers new legislation to create a new EU-wide legal framework for crypto assets in September.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a greater EU attention on the eurozone’s financial health, including the approval of an unprecedented COVID-19 recovery fund totaling €750 billion in June.
It has also seen a considerable shift away from cash in favour of digital choices, which banking institutions such as the European Central Bank (ECB) are actively monitoring.
There was much disagreement.
A sizable number of voters in Greece (61%), Germany (34%), and Latvia (31%), considered the EU and ECB acted too heavily in their own economies.
“The long-term repercussions of the euro crisis a decade ago may still be felt in countries like Greece and Italy,” Dimitar Lilkov, Research officer at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels, told Euronews Next.
“A big portion of the people continues to believe that the crisis was caused by faulty decisions at the EU level, rather than by severe weaknesses in their national banking sector, ballooning public debt, and unreformed labour markets.”
Respondents in Lithuania (41%), Spain (39%), Portugal (36%), and Estonia (36%), agreed that the ECB interfered “quite enough.”
On the subject of who should be in charge of financial regulation, a majority of respondents (from 49% in Hungary to 76% in the Netherlands) said it should be the duty of their national government, rather than the EU.
There was no clear preference for EU-led financial regulation in any of the countries polled, but as Lilkov points out, financial decisions are made in capitals across Europe, not in Brussels.