Europeans stricken with nostalgia

Two thirds of EU citizens think life was better before. But what is "before" and who exactly are these two thirds, really? 

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Europeans stricken with nostalgia - NewsMavens
Old photo, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

A feeling that life in the past was better then now is understandable. After all, humans have always tended to hold on to good memories and forget unpleasantness.

Also, the daily news cycle only amplifies one's feeling of impending doom and ongoing crisis. 

Nostalgia has recently returned to politics with slogans like "Make America Great AGAIN". Therefore, it pays to understand which political ideas have benefited from this feeling.

A recent EUpinions study, called "The Power of the Past", doesn't explain the connection between the feeling that "migrants are stealing jobs" and the feeling that life in the past was better. But most respondents who longed for the past had negative attituides towards migrants. The correlation might be meaningless, but the study does show that, broadly speaking, those who long for the past tend to be farther right on the political spectrum.

Details from the story:

  • Italians, it turns out, yearn for the past the most -- at 77%, they are well above the EU average.
  • Predictably, older people are more nostalgic then younger ones -- but this division starts at 36, with people in their late thirties being in the lead, closely followed by those in their 50s and 60s. 
  • The people who think life in the past was better then now, are also more likely to disapprove of migration and believe that migrants are "stealing jobs from locals". 
  • But interestingly, both "nostalgic" and "non-nostalgic" respondents were close in their attitudes towards the EU -- both wanted it to stay strong.
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