Irish most optimistic about the future of the EU
A new Eurobarometer poll shows that 77% of people in Ireland are optimistic about the future of the EU, the highest in Europe. On average 50% of people in the EU are optimistic about its future with the figure dropping to 28% in Greece. What's more, Irish respondents (58%, up 4 percentage points since the autumn) were the most likely to have a positive image of the EU. The EU average was 34%, falling to 16% in Greece.
When it comes to the national economy, 53% of Irish respondents think the situation is good (down 4 percentage points since autumn 2015) but still well above the EU average of 39%. People in Luxembourg (88%) were most positive about the state of their national economy followed by Germany (83%) while respondents in Greece (3%) and Spain (8%) were least positive.
When asked what were the two most important issues facing the EU at the moment, Irish and EU respondents were most likely to say immigration and terrorism. When asked what were the two most important concerns facing Ireland, respondents chose health and social security (37%) and unemployment (26%).
The survey also showed that:
- Irish respondents were the most likely to think the impact of the crisis on jobs had reached its peak (71%) compared to an EU average of 41% and a low of 29% in Greece.
- Irish respondents (80%) were 2nd most likely to say they are in favour of “a European economic and monetary union with one single currency, the euro” after Luxembourg at 82%. Across the EU support for the euro was at 55% with a low of 17% in the United Kingdom.
- Irish respondents (70%) were the 2nd most likely after Lithuania at 77% to be in favour of a free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the United States.
- Irish people (77%, up 6 percentage points since autumn 2015) were third most positive after Luxembourg (81%) and Sweden (78%) about immigration of people from other EU member states. And Irish respondents (53%) were the 2nd most likely to have positive feelings about immigration of people from outside the EU behind Sweden at 62%. The EU average is 34%.
- 80% of Irish people feel they are citizens of the EU, fourth highest in Europe after Luxembourg (93%), Malta (84%) and Finland (82%). The EU average is 66% with Greece in lowest place on 46%.
The survey was carried out between 21 and 31 May 2016.