Danes felt ‘least impacted’ of Europeans during Covid-19 pandemic

Danes felt 'least impacted' of Europeans during Covid-19 pandemic
Copenhagen Airport in May 2020. File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
People in Denmark felt less impacted by the Covid-19 crisis than in 11 other EU countries, a new study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) finds.

As many as 72 percent of Danish participants said that their lives were “not affected at all” by the pandemic, the study published on Wednesday found.

That puts Denmark at the top of the table of Europeans in 12 EU member states who were asked about the impact of the crisis on their lives.

A further 10 percent in Denmark said the impact on their lives was solely economic, while 19 percent said they had been affected by the disease itself.

The majority in the Nordic nation said they had not been personally impacted by either serious disease, bereavement, or economic hardship.

Along with France, Denmark was also one of only two countries in which the ECFR study found a majority of those under 30 to say they have not been impacted by the crisis.

Concerns have been previously raised in Denmark as to the long-term impact on children of measures such as school closures, taken to restrict the spread of the coronavirus at earlier stages of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces plan to aid wellbeing of young people hit by lockdown

The ECFR found that for older Europeans, although the virus was seen as a threat to their lives, a majority said they had not been directly affected.

Denmark was also the country in which the highest proportion trusted government decisions over coronavirus restrictions. 77 percent trusted the motivation behind lockdown restrictions, the survey found. That compares with 76 percent in neighbouring Sweden, 65 percent in Germany and as little as 38 percent in Poland.

Nowhere in Europe did people feel more inhibited by 18 months of Covid-19 restrictions than in Germany, the study found.

Just 11 percent of Germans currently ‘feel free’ in their everyday life, while 49 percent say that they ‘don’t feel free’, putting Germany last amongst the 12 nations for feelings about their level of freedom now compared to the pre-pandemic days.

For Denmark, those figures were 29 percent and 16 percent respectively. But they compare poorly with pre-pandemic feelings of freedom in Denmark. 58 percent said they felt free in 2019 compared with the 29 percent figure for 2021.

The feeling of lost freedom was expressed across the continent, with an average of 22 percent saying they don’t feel free. Hungarians and Spaniards were least likely to report a loss of freedom with 12 and 11 percent respectively saying they don’t feel free.

ECFR director Mark Leonard said that the report’s findings were concerning.

“While, in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, it appeared that Europeans were coming together and coalescing around a unified response, stark divides have since emerged that could be as serious as those during the euro and refugee crises,” he stated.

Describing the climate as “fragile”, he said that Europeans were deeply divided over the issue of losing civil liberties and over trust in governments’ motives for imposing lockdowns.

Hungarians were most likely to express satisfaction with their government’s interventions; Swedes were most likely to say that their government should have done more; Poles felt most keenly that their government had gone too far.

The survey was conducted between May 20th and 27th and involved a representative survey of residents across the 12 countries, including 1,015 people in Denmark.


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