Ireland loves EU the most

The Irish public love the EU the most, a new poll confirmed today.

Despite rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum, Ireland appreciates the benefits of EU membership more than any other nation, according to the European Commission’s latest public opinion survey.

The findings, based on work conducted before the referendum vote, are in line with a snap poll of 2,000 Irish voters conducted immediately after the referendum decision.

The snap poll showed that 80% of those voting No were in favour of the EU.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told reporters that the No campaigners were “pro-Europe and pro-European Union”.

Today’s survey shows that 82% of Irish people believe their country has benefited from EU membership. That’s a 5% drop since the last survey, but still higher than anywhere else in the EU.

Estonia comes closest with a 76% approval rating for the benefits of membership. At the other end of the scale, the UK, Austria and Hungary all record a lowly 36% who think there have been benefits from membership.

The Irish are also top of the poll when asked if they think membership has been “a good thing”, with 73% agreeing and only 6% describing EU membership as a bad thing.

In the UK only 30% see membership as a good thing and 32% say it has been a bad thing – once again recording the lowest level of EU support amongst 27 countries.

When asked if the EU represented a “positive” image, 65% of Irish voters said yes, compared with only 29% in the UK.

The Romanians were top of this poll, with 67% seeing positive images when thinking of the EU. Bottom of the poll, tipping the UK by 1% was Austria.

Trust in the EU is put at 62% in Ireland, a 7% increase on last autumn. The situation has improved in the UK too, with a 4% increase in levels of trust in the EU – bringing the UK figure up to just 29% and way below any other EU country.

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