One in three Europeans would leave the continent in the future for a better life

One in three Europeans would leave the continent in the future for a better life

McCann Worldgroup presented this Thursday in Madrid the study ‘The Truth About New Europe’, a pan-European study by the world’s leading group in creative solutions, which concludes that, after several years of ‘permacrisis’, one in three Europeans say that “in the future, I may have to leave Europe to have a better life“.

For the youngest, a European future looks complicated, and three out of four Europeans consider that brands and companies “should play a more relevant role to achieve the unity of Europe”. The study also reveals hot spots for innovation and future investment, pointing to Sustainability, Science, Technology and Energy as key factors for the region’s future success.

Developed in collaboration with McCann Worldgroup Truth Central, the group’s global intelligence unit, the study has been drawn up on more than 27,000 interviews with European citizens, carried out in two waves, with the participation of a wide range of experts. The investigation was carried out in 16 markets, including: Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Turkey and Italy..

The survey data is far-reaching, reflecting the hopes, fears and expectations of Europeans in areas as diverse as healthcare, technology, culture and climate. Compared to the 2018 study data, the new findings reveal important changes over the past five years:

After a long period of ‘permacrisis’, the main concerns of Europeans have changed significantly, since the study indicates that 36% of Europeans say that climate change is their biggest concern, compared to 20% in 2018, and exceeding for the first time to terrorism.

For the youngest, a European future looks complicated, and three out of four Europeans consider that brands and companies “should play a more relevant role to achieve the unity of Europe”

The growing gap between rich and poor represents the greatest threat to social cohesion, above inequalities based on gender, ethnicity or age.: one in two Europeans is worried about being able to provide enough for their household.

Social inequality is the third concern of Spaniards, the second place in the region (25%), behind Turkey (31%). After the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, concern about a new war has increased: from 24% five years ago, to 33% today. The 5 countries that lead that belief are Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Finland and Germany.

However, the study also reveals that there are many reasons for optimism, and identifies hot spots for future innovation and investment.

Human rights are the area in which citizens expect Europe to lead the world in the future, ahead of healthcare, education and democracy.

Spain currently perceives health, education and democracy under threat, but the EU plays a fundamental role in ensuring that it functions under high standards. Europe is perceived as a geopolitical safety net that enjoys incalculable trust.

Human rights are the area in which citizens expect Europe to lead the world in the future, ahead of healthcare, education and democracy

The key areas for investment are: technology, energy, sustainability, health and wellness. Faced with a list of possible future innovations, the first one Europeans would like to have access to is “a pill that stops the aging process“, above self-driving cars, kitchen robots or hologram communication devices. In their daily lives, the first area in which Europeans would like more guidance is “sustainable living”, selected by one in three respondents .

A European health system is the most desired regional service by Europeans, even above a European passport or a European military force.


Regarding technologies, the study indicates that Europeans have an ambivalent relationship with technology. One in two respondents believe that technology is key to unlocking our full potential (although 62% believe that their job is too complicated for a robot to do correctly).

The Spanish have never been so aware of the need for technology to build a more prosperous future (+6 points since 2018), although at the same time, and demonstrating a great dichotomy, we want it less and less in our private lives.

He United Kingdom has the highest feeling of optimism towards technology, where 3 out of 4 respondents affirm that “the potential benefits of the technology outweigh any known risks“.

65% of Europeans agree that “if we all gave up social media tomorrow, the world would be a better place”, a percentage that rises to 71% in the UK and 74% in France.

Successful companies will play a leadership role, something that consumers not only expect, but want from brands and companies.

Three out of four Europeans believe that “brands and companies should play a greater role in bringing Europe together.”

83% of Europeans believe that the future success of companies will be based more on cooperation than on competition.

Likewise, one in three respondents maintains that the EU should finance more research and innovation, compared to 1 in 4 who believed so in 2018.

European values

Brands have a key role to play in appealing to strong European values: freedom, education, health, equality and justice.. 90% of Europeans believe that business leaders should be as accountable to public opinion as political leaders. Never before has corporate behavior been so scrutinized, nor has it been so crucial to the success of companies.

69% of Europeans believe that it is more important to work for the common good than for individual benefit, a percentage that rises to 80% in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Fernando Fascioli, president of McCann Worldgroup Europe and the United Kingdom, assured in the presentation that “our study ‘The Truth About New Europe’ offers a much richer story than the headlines we usually read. It clearly shows the impact of the events that have shaken us in recent years, but also, encouragingly, the opportunities for brands and companies to be a positive element in shaping our region in the future. With a deep understanding of the consumer mindset in each market and specific areas of growth and innovation, it is a great tool that clients can use to future-proof their brands and businesses.”

For her part, Marina Specht, CEO of McCann Worldgroup Spain, believes that “the findings of this new macro study by the Group provide valuable insights into changes in the European consumer, with clear implications for companies and brands. As experts in business transformation, it is really exciting to have the opportunity to share these findings with brands, and take on the challenge of accompanying them in this transition towards the new Europe, trying to play with the magic of ideas to find the most creatively effective solutions. to their business problems, and continue building together a prosperous future for the region”.

73% of Europeans – and 83% of Spaniards – maintain that brands should play a more important role in keeping Europe together.

Finally, Rodney Collins, executive vice president and director of Truth Central, explained that “While it may be tempting to shrug at the onslaught of challenges facing Europe, European citizens and leaders from all sectors are not just optimistic, they are committed to creating a new future.. Europeans are not only ready to be resilient, but also expect the region to lead the world stage in everything from human rights to the circular economy to healthcare. Of course, this will require transformations in the workforce, the regulatory environment, and collaborative ecosystems. Everyone will have to step up and adopt a creatively radical mindset to chart a more equitable and sustainable future.”

McCann Worldgroup’s ‘Truth About New Europe 2023’ study is the second wave of a forward-looking study charting the expectations Europe of today holds for tomorrow’s leaders, brands and companies. Conducted by McCann Worldgroup Truth Central, the organization’s global intelligence unit, this large-scale quantitative study surveyed more than 27,000 people (nationally representative) in 18 countries between the two waves. For the qualitative component of the research, Truth Central interviewed more than 60 business leaders, futurists, academics, and journalists from global organizations, consultancies, start-ups, think tanks, and universities across the continent, as well as ordinary citizens.

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