Representation in Ireland

Irish most likely to have positive image of the EU: Eurobarometer survey

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Irish people are the most likely to have a positive image of the EU at 64% according to the Spring 2018 Eurobarometer published today. This figure is up 5 percentage points since the last Eurobarometer survey in the autumn. The share of Irish people (8%) having a negative image of the EU was second lowest in the EU after Lithuania (7%).  Meanwhile, 27% of Irish people have a neutral image of the EU.

On average, 40% of people across the EU have a positive image of the EU, 37% have a neutral and 21% have a negative. Greece (27%) had the lowest share of people with a positive image of the EU.

Irish people are also by far the most optimistic about the future of the EU at 84% (up 4 percentage points since the autumn), followed by Luxembourg and Portugal (both 71%). The EU average was 58%, dropping to 43% in the UK and 42% in Greece.

14/06/2018

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Table from the Eurobarometer survey showing levels of optimism about the future of the EU
Table from the Eurobarometer survey showing levels of optimism about the future of the EU

The survey also shows that:

  • 79% (up 7 percentage points since the autumn) of Irish people think the situation of the national economy is good, which is well above the EU average of 49%. Respondents in the Netherlands and Luxembourg (both 93%) were most likely to think the situation of their national economy was good followed by Germany (90%) and Denmark (89%). Meanwhile only 2% of Greek respondents thought the situation of their national economy was good.
  • A large majority of Irish people (68%, up 7 pp), 4th highest in the EU, also thought the situation of the European economy was good. The EU average was 50% dropping to 36% in Italy and 33% in France.
  • 78% (up 5 pp) of Irish people think that the impact of the crisis on jobs has already reached its peak, second highest in the EU after the Netherlands at 79%. The EU average was 49% with optimism lowest in the UK (36%) and Latvia (34%).
  • 90% of Irish people support “the free movement of EU citizens who can live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU, 6th highest in the EU where the average was 82%. Support was lowest in the UK (72%) and Italy (70%).
  • Irish respondents (85%) are the second most likely to feel they are EU citizens after Luxembourg at 93%. The EU average was 70% dropping to 51% in Greece and Bulgaria. A majority of UK respondents (57%) feel they are EU citizens.
  • Support for the Euro was second highest in Ireland at (84%) after Estonia at 88%. The EU average was 61% dropping to 23% in the Czech Republic.
  • When asked what were the two most important issues facing the EU at the moment, Irish people selected: terrorism (40%) and immigration (30%). Climate change came in third at 15%. On average across the EU, the top two issues selected were: immigration (38%) and terrorism (29%).
  • The top three national concerns for Irish people were: housing (56%, second highest in the EU after Luxembourg at 58%), health and social security (41%) and rising prices (20%). The top national concerns at EU level were: unemployment (25%), Health and social security (23%) and immigration (21%).
  • Trust in the EU was also above average in Ireland with 54% (up 4 pp) of people tending to trust the EU, 6th highest in the EU where the average is 42%. Levels of trust were highest in Lithuania at 66% and lowest in Greece (27%) and the UK (30%). The share of Irish people who tend not to trust the EU is down 3 percentage points to 35%.

Just over 1,000 people in Ireland were interviewed face-to-face for the survey between 17 and 26 March 2017 by Behaviour and Attitudes.

More information

The Eurobarometer report, including an Ireland factsheet, can be downloaded here.