91 per cent of Irish citizens believe that Ireland has benefited from membership of the EU
The latest Parliament Eurobarometer survey finds record support for the EU, despite the Brexit backdrop. The Eurobarometer published one year ahead of the European elections in May 2019, confirms citizens’ steadily growing support for the European Union.
With just one year to go until the next European elections, EP President Antonio Tajani outlined the results from the latest public opinion poll about the EU. The Eurobarometer survey, conducted in April 2018 amongst 27,601 people from 28 Member States reveals that in Ireland, on average 91% of Irish citizens believe that Ireland has benefited from membership of the EU. The overall figures show that on over two-thirds of respondents are convinced that their country has benefited from being a member of the EU whilst on average 60% of EU citizens believe that EU membership of their country is a good thing. This is the highest score ever measured since 1983.
Almost a third of respondents already know the date of the next European elections, with 50% being interested in it. In general, the ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ process is perceived as a positive development for European democracy with almost half of respondents saying it would make them more likely to vote. Nearly three quarters of citizens want this lead candidate process to be accompanied by a real debate about European issues and the future of the EU.
Asked about the specific issues of concern respondents would like to see debated in the election campaigns across the continent, almost half of Europeans (49%) cite the fight against terrorism as priority topic, followed by youth unemployment’ (48%), immigration (45%) and economy and growth (42%). Approximately one third of Europeans cite the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment (35%) whilst promoting human rights and democracy as well as the social protection of EU citizens are listed by 32% of respondents.
A majority of respondents continues to be satisfied with the way democracy works in their country (55%) and in the EU (46%) whilst half of respondents do not consider the emergence of new parties or political movements protesting against the political establishment as threat to democracy per se. A majority of respondents (56%) believes that such new political parties might be a vehicle for change - while a clear 70% of citizens warn new parties that ‘just being against something does not improve anything’.
Overall, the survey points to a growing interest in, and appreciation for, the EU as well as a growing conviction that they can have a say in its future if they vote in the elections next year.