Representation in Ireland

Irish most optimistic about the future of the EU: new EU survey

Irish people are the most likely (85%) to be optimistic about the future of the EU according to a new Eurobarometer poll released this week, ahead of Denmark in second place at 79%. On average, 61% of Europeans were optimistic about the future of the EU with only the United Kingdom (47%) and Greece (45%) coming in under 50%.

The poll also shows that Irish people were, at 77%, the happiest with the way democracy works in the EU. This is also well above the EU average of 55%. The United Kingdom (46%), France (45%) and Greece (36%) were the only three countries in the EU where only a minority were satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU.


Irish people also continued to be the most likely at 63% to have a positive image of the EU. This compares to an EU average of 45% and a low of 29% in Czechia.

Other findings:

  • 85% of Irish people, 4th highest in the EU after Luxembourg (93%), Germany (88%) and Spain (87%), feel they are citizens of the EU. The EU average was 73% dropping to 52% in Bulgaria.
  • Irish people are more likely (54%) to trust the EU than the EU average (44%). Trust in the EU was highest in Lithuania (72%) and lowest in the UK (29%). Trust in the national government was also higher in Ireland (42%) than the EU average (34%). People in Luxembourg (76%) were the most likely to trust their government while those in Croatia (13%) and the UK were least (19%).
  • When asked what are the three most important issues facing the EU at the moment, Irish people selected climate change (33%), immigration (28%), and terrorism (21%). On average across the EU, the top three issues selected were: immigration (34%), climate change (22%) with the economic situation, the state of Member States' public finances and terrorism (all 18%) coming in at joint third place.
  • The top three national concerns for Irish people were: housing (54%, 2nd highest in the EU), health and social security (41%) and the environment, climate change and energy issues (17%). The top national concerns at EU level were:  rising prices/inflation/cost of living, health and social security and unemployment (all at 21%).
  • 75% of Irish people think the situation of the national economy is good. On average, 49% of Europeans think the situation of their national economy is good. People in Luxembourg were the most likely to think this way at 94% with those in Greece least likely at 7%.
  • 32% of Irish people (down 6 percentage points on autumn 2018) think the economic situation of Ireland will improve over the next twelve months while 16% think it will worsen (up 6 percentage points) and 46% (down 2 percentage points) think it will stay the same.

Just over one thousand people were interviewed face-to-face for the survey in Ireland between 7 and 18 June 2019.

Further information

European Commission press release: Spring 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: Europeans upbeat about the state of the European Union – best results in 5 years

The Spring 2019 Eurobarometer survey, including an Ireland country factsheet can be downloaded here.