Irish most positive about EU - Eurobarometer latest

The results of the Spring Eurobarometer opinion poll have just been published. Data show that optimism is on the rise in Europe with an increasing majority of people in the EU positive about the future of the European Union. Irish people are the most optimistic of all (77%) and most likely of all to have a positive image of the EU, at 58%, up 3 points since autumn 2016. Close to a majority of Europeans are now also optimistic about their national economy, while support for the euro shows its highest score since 2004. Over two-thirds of Irish people are positive about the national economy (68%, up 4 points since autumn 2016).

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Highlights for Ireland

Irish respondents (77%, unchanged) are the most optimistic about the future of the European Union, compared to an EU average of 56% (+6pp). Ireland is followed by Luxembourg at 73%, Malta at 71% and Denmark at 70%. Pessimism is the majority view in Greece (69%), Cyprus (52%), the Czech Republic (51%) and the United Kingdom (49% vs. 39% total ‘optimistic’).

 

 

Irish people at 58% (+3 percentage points since the autumn) are also the most likely to have a positive image of the EU, followed by Luxembourg (57%) and Bulgaria (55%). (EU average 40% +5 pp).)

Only 13% of Irish respondents have a negative image of the EU.

Irish respondents (83%) are in joint second place with Slovenia for support for the Euro. Luxembourg occupies the top position at 85% with support lowest in the UK (23%) and the Czech Republic at 20%. The EU average is 60%.

82% (+ 4 pp) of Irish citizens feel they are citizens of the EU, second highest in the EU after Luxembourg at 89%. The EU average is 68% with respondents in the UK (54%), Italy (53%) and Greece (48%) least likely to feel they are citizens of the EU.

Main issues facing Ireland at the moment

  • Housing (mentioned by 50% of Irish respondents, +8 pp since autumn 2016) is seen as the most important national issue at the moment for Irish respondents. Luxembourg is the only EU country where a higher share of respondents (51%) consider housing to be the most important national issue. Across the EU, housing is only mentioned by 8% of respondents as an issue of national concern..
  • Health and social security is seen as the second most important national issue at 38% (+9 pp).
  • The third most important issue for Irish respondents is inflation/cost of living at 18%. This has replaced unemployment, which has fallen from 24% in autumn 2016 to 17% in spring 2017, in third place. 
  • At an EU level, unemployment (29%) is seen as the most important national issue followed by immigration at 22% and health and social security at 20%.

Main concerns at personal level

  • Rising prices/inflation/cost of living remains the most important issue currently facing Irish (34%, -3 pp since the autumn) and European respondents (28%) personally.
  • Health and social security is in second place, mentioned by 26% of Irish respondents (+4 pp) and by 17% of European respondents (+1 percentage point).
  • Pensions (15%) is in third place for EU citizens overall while taxation (15%, +2 pp) is in third place for Irish respondents.

Trust in national governments and parliaments and in the European Union

  • 51% (+2 percentage points since the autumn) of Irish people tend to trust the EU compared to 37% (-5 pp) who do not. This puts Ireland well above the EU average of 42% (+6 pp) but only in 10th place overall behind countries like Lithuania (65%), Luxembourg (61%) and Finland (59%).
  • 41% (+1 pp) of Irish people tend to trust the Irish government  while 52% (-4 pp) do not. This compares to an EU average of 37% (+6 pp) who tend to trust their national government while 57% (-7 pp) do not. People in Luxembourg (72%) and the Netherlands (66%) were most likely to  trust their national government while people in Greece were least likely to do so at 11%.
  • Irish people 58% (+3 percentage points since the autumn) are the most likely to have a positive image of the EU, followed by Luxembourg (57%) and Bulgaria (55%). The EU average was 40% (+5 pp) with Greece in lowest place at 18%.  Only 13% of Irish respondents have a negative image of the EU.
  • Irish respondents (77%, unchanged) are also the most optimistic about the future of the European Union, compared to an EU average of 56% (+6pp). Ireland is followed by Luxembourg at 73%, Malta at 71% and Denmark at 70%. Pessimism is the majority view in Greece (69%), Cyprus (52%), the Czech Republic (51%) and the United Kingdom (49% vs. 39% total ‘optimistic’).

Economy

  • Over two-third (68%, up 4 pp since the autumn) of Irish respondents are positive about the situation of the Irish economy, putting Ireland in 7th place overall, and well above the EU average of 46% (+5 pp). Respondents in the Netherlands (91%), Luxembourg and Germany (both 90%) were most likely to say the situation of their national economy was good while people in Greece were least likely at 2%.
  • When asked about the financial situation of their household, 84% of Irish respondents rated it as good compared to an EU average of 70%.
  • The share of Irish people who rated their job situation as good (73%) was also well above the EU average of 59%.
  • Irish (77%, up 8 pp) and Dutch respondents (77%, up 4 pp) were the second most likely to believe the impact of the crisis on jobs has already reached its peak after Denmark at 80% (up 18 pp). The EU average is 47% (up 5 pp) with people in the UK (31%, up 1pp) and Greece (29%, up 2 pp) in bottom place.

Freedom of Movement and the euro

  • 88% of Irish people support the free movement of EU citizens, in 10th place overall, behind Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (all 94%) in top place. People in the UK at 70% and Italy at 69% are the least in favour. On average, 81% of EU citizens support the free movement of EU citizens to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU.
  • Irish respondents (83%) are in joint second place with Slovenia for support for the Euro. Luxembourg occupies the top position at 85% with support lowest in the UK (23%) and the Czech Republic at 20%. The EU average is 60%.
  • 73% of Irish people are in favour of a common European policy on migration, above the EU average of 68%, but below countries like Spain (86%), the Netherlands (84%) and Germany at 83% where support is highest. Support for a common EU policy on migration is lowest in Poland (49%), Estonia and Hungary (both 47%) and the Czech Republic (39%).
  • 82% (+ 4 pp) of Irish citizens feel they are citizens of the EU, second highest in the EU after Luxembourg at 89%. The EU average is 68% with respondents in the UK (54%), Italy (53%) and Greece (48%) least likely to feel they are citizens of the EU.

Main issues facing the EU at the moment - Europe-wide

  • Terrorism is now on top of the issues that citizens cite when it comes to challenges that the EU is currently facing (mentioned by 44% of EU citizens, +12 percentage points since autumn 2016). Immigration, which has been a top concern since spring 2015, is now the second most frequently cited challenge (38%, -7 points).  The economic situation is seen as the third most important issue facing the EU (18%, -2).
  • Terrorism (50%, +17 percentage points) has taken over from immigration (34%, -8 pp) as the main issue facing the EU as far as Irish respondents are concerned. The economic situation (17%) is in third position.

Further information

In Ireland, 1,009 people were interviewed for the survey between 20 and 29 May 2017 (by Behaviour and Attitudes).

The Eurobarometer report, including an Ireland factsheet, is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/STANDARD/surveyKy/2142

The Ireland country factsheet is available here.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/news/irish-most-positive-about-eu-eurobarometer_en

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