What do Saint-Martiners think of Europe?

Ordered by the authorities, a survey was conducted by Qualistat. The results were delivered on Wednesday afternoon.


"The European Union is known by more than seven Saint-Martin residents out of ten." This is what the survey, which was conducted by the Qualistat Institute at the end of 2015, revealed*. However, their knowledge on the subject remains limited. "They hardly know how many countries make it up," noted Qualistat while specifying that often, the number quoted was less than 25.

This community that they consider as "far away", appears to them as "a complex institution" for 65%. Most of them see Europe "as a gendarme which controls their life". It is associated with constraints and rigidity. And therefore opposite to their Caribbean way of life.

European institutions are not well known. "Even though the Parliament is the institution which shows the best reputation (72%), only 22% of the respondents said they know how it works and those who are able to correctly indicate where its headquarters are located do not exceed 10 %".

Nevertheless, 85% of the people surveyed believe that Europe is a good thing for Saint-Martin. That it plays "an essential role for compensating the lack of means of the Collectivité". Seven Saint-Martin residents out of ten also know that the territory receives funds but are not necessarily able to name them. The people who can name them mention the ERDF and the ESF. The ERDF’s notoriety can certainly be explained by the presence of the signs placed at the entrance of the construction sites funded by Europe (school campus, media library, etc.).

On the other hand, the people in Saint-Martin have a hard time measuring the economic impact of the funds. They pointed out that they are always granted to the same people, meaning to  “outsiders". This contributes to intensifying disparities within the territory.

Finally, a lack of communication has been noticed by more than half of the people surveyed who furthermore expressed their willingness to have information in French and in English.

The complete results of this survey were delivered to the Saint-Martin prefecture whose services will analyze them in order to establish a communication plan adapted to the expectations.

* The survey was conducted in two phases. The first consisted in a qualitative approach and ten people who spoke English, French and Spanish were interviewed. The second focused on a quantitative approach and 492 people aged 15 and older were.

The identity question

65% of the individuals interviewed consider themselves as European citizens because they live in this area. However, 30% of them claim to be first and foremost Caribbean, the same percentage say they are French and 26% identify with Saint-Martin. A similar finding in the mainland where people, regardless of their native region, first say they are French before saying they are European.


Estelle Gasnet