A relative majority of respondents in a survey carried out by sister newspaper MaltaToday agree with the early introduction of the Euro in 2008 but a majority fear that the currency changeover would either boost inflation or result in a currency devaluation which would erode their purchasing power.
While 40 per cent are concerned that the Euro would bring about an increase in prices, 11.6 per cent are concerned that the adoption of this currency will bring about a devaluation of the currency. Just over 47 per cent agree with the Euro’s introduction in 2008.
Compared to a survey held in November the number of those who agree with the early adoption of the euro has increased by 12 per cent while the number of undecided respondents has fallen by the same percentage.
The survey shows that opposition to the euro has remained at the same levels as it was in December 2005.
Since this survey was carried out a few days before Alfred Sant spelled out his party’s opposition to the early adoption of the euro in 2008, the impact of the MLP leader’s declaration still has to be seen.
Before Sunday, the MLP had expressed its caution on the early introduction of the euro in more mooted words.
In fact 25.6 per cent of respondents who intend to vote for the MLP agree with the introduction of the euro in 2008.
What is sure is that Sant’s opposition to the early adoption to the Euro is also shared by a significant 16 per cent of respondents who intend to vote for the Nationalist Party and by 48 per cent who intend not to vote in a forthcoming general election. Voters opting for the traditionally Europhile Green Party also oppose the early introduction of the euro in their vast majority with 64 per cent shunning the 2008 deadline.
Among undecided voters a slight majority of 41 per cent favour the early adoption of the Euro.
Although the majority favour the early adoption of euro, most respondents expressed a number of concerns. Only 18 per cent of respondents do not envisage any problems.
While inflation is the top concern of 40 per cent of respondents, another 6.3 per cent are concerned that business men could take advantage of the currency change to raise prices. Only two per cent expressed concern on Malta losing its national currency but 11 per cent were concerned that during Euro conversion the currency would lose its value. Two per cent also fear a loss in investments and savings.
So far, mounting fears of an impending price hike have not been translated into a surge of opposition to the early adoption but with political controversy on this issue set to rise, the issue could become more divisive in the future.
A total of 443 respondents were randomly chosen from the telephone directory with 300 accepting to be interviewed. The results were subsequently weighed according to the age and sex distribution of the population. The survey was held between Monday 25th and Friday 29 th April. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 per cent.