According to a series of Eurobarometer surveys done for the European Parliament, on ‘perceptions and expectations’, the support of EU citizens for even stronger EU involvement in the health and social security policy area grew from 63 % in 2016 to 69 % in 2018.
There are significant differences in the way this policy is perceived in different Member States. The strongest support for increased EU action is registered in Cyprus (93 %) and the lowest in Denmark (47 %) and Austria (48 %). Over time, there has also been an increase in public support for EU spending on public health. Some 32 % perceived it as a priority spending category in 2008, 36 % in 2011 and 41 % in 2015 (Eurobarometer data). In 2015, public health was the policy area with the second highest support from citizens in terms of EU spending (after social affairs and employment).
In 2016, this was one of the very few policy areas with a significant difference of opinions across gender groups. Significantly more women (74 %) than men (61 %) supported more EU involvement in health and social security. In 2018 however, this difference between the expectations of men and women has almost disappeared, with 70 % of women and 68 % of men supporting increased EU action.