Poll: Irish people are the most satisfied with the EU

PUBLISHED: 15:01 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 05 March 2019

Irish and European flags hang from the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.

Irish and European flags hang from the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

A survey of EU member states has found that Irish people have the most positive image of the European Union with just 8% having a negative impression of the EU.

The annual Eurobarometer also shows that people in Ireland are the most satisfied with how democracy works in the EU and are the most optimistic about the bloc’s future.

The report, issued by the European Commission Representation in Ireland, claims that 66% of Irish people say they feel attached to the EU, the highest proportion since May 2007.

Gerry Kiely, head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, said: “The report captures Ireland’s strong support for the European Union.

“This is fully reciprocated, as is evident from the European Union’s unwavering support for Irish interests in the Brexit negotiations.

“With the European Parliament elections looming in May, I hope that Irish support for the European Union will translate into a very healthy voter turnout.

“Young people in Ireland have a poor record in voting in the European elections. Everyone should have a say on who will influence their future by getting out and voting.”

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At 76%, Ireland has the highest proportion of people in any member state feeling that their interests are well taken account of in the EU.

This is an increase of 17 points in the past two years and coincides with the negotiations between the EU and the British government on Brexit.

This score represents the highest proportion of Irish citizens feeling this way since this data was first collected in 2007.

The report also found that attachment to the EU has increased by 24 points since 2013, however most people said they feel “fairly attached” rather than “very attached”.

Some two-thirds of Irish people have a positive image of the EU, which is the highest level of positivity recorded in Ireland since 2008, and the highest figure for any member state.

Only 8% of Irish people said they have negative view of the EU.

As of November 2018, 85% of Irish citizens reported feeling some semblance of EU citizenship and are the most satisfied with how democracy works in the EU, with 75% expressing satisfaction. This is substantially above the EU average of 50%.

Ireland is the most optimistic EU country about the future of the EU. 86% of Irish people say they are optimistic, the highest number of people saying this ever.

Some seven in 10 Irish people disagree with the notion that Ireland could best face the future outside of the EU. Only one in four believe that Ireland would do better outside the EU.

The polling flies in the face of Brexiteers like Kate Hoey and Nigel Farage, who have claimed that Ireland could be next to leave the European Union, despite high levels of satisfaction in bloc membership.

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