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Annual survey reveals impact of pandemic on attitudes in Europe towards technology and healthcare

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Our annual survey European Tech Insights 2021,  explores how European citizens feel about technological change and its governance. Part I of the report reveals the impact the pandemic has had on public attitudes towards healthcare, automation, social media and urban areas.

One year on from the outbreak of Covid-19, the findings suggest a sense of growing public responsibility to address the big societal issues which have been exposed or exacerbated by the pandemic – such as improving healthcare systems and protecting jobs.

In many cases, we are seeing a trend towards cooperation and social cohesion, and a changing relationship with urban spaces:

Most Europeans (61%) are willing to pay more taxes to raise the salaries of essential workers from nurses to shop-workers. Highest support is found in Sweden (70%), UK (70%) and Spain (67%). The only country that is against the measure is France (54% against)

– A majority of Europeans (65%) support building a European Health Union to enhance cooperation in public health, with the strongest support in Spain (75%), Italy (73%) and the Netherlands (70%).

67% of Europeans support fiscal measures to help people and businesses move to smaller cities and rural areas, with the highest support in Spain (83%).

The report has also heightened job security concerns and points to a growing generational divide, which is set to widen as digital natives get older and their purchasing and political power grow.

Support for limiting automation to protect jobs is strongest among those under 44 (53% among 18-24- and 35-44-year olds) whereas those over 45 are more sceptical (only 45% of support on all groups over 45).

Most young Europeans under the age of 25 (46%) show less privacy concerns and are more willing to share personal data, like their health data, while most over 35s (53%) would prefer not to. Strongest support is seen in Italy (52%), Spain (41%) the Netherlands and Poland (38%).

– Similarly, young Europeans are willing to let their governments share their health records with companies like Google, with 55% of under 25-year olds in favour.

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The pandemic has also had an impact on Europeans’ relationship with the city. This year is the first time we record a majority (43% in favour vs 41% against) that supports reducing the presence of cars in the center of cities through taxes or other restrictions.

As part of the research, the CGC surveyed 2,769 respondents between 1-18 January 2021. Part Two of the Tech Insights Report is expected in May and will focus primarily on the use of technology and the governance implications for democracy.

Click here to download the full report.