The European Union’s approval rating is higher in Ireland than in any other member state, a survey has found.
The latest Eurobarometer survey has found that more people than ever across Europe consider their country’s membership of the EU to be a good thing (62%) — the highest figure recorded in 25 years.
The survey was carried out in face-to-face interviews between September 8 and 26 among 27,474 Europeans aged 16 and above.
In Ireland, 85% of respondents said that membership of the EU is a ‘good thing’, with 92% stating the country had benefitted from EU membership, compared to an EU average of 68%.
However, 40% of Irish respondents were ‘not interested’ in the upcoming European elections due to be held next May.
Across Europe, just 41% of respondents correctly said the next European elections will take place in May 2019.
Asked if there was a referendum on EU membership today, 83% of the Irish public would vote to remain in comparison to an EU average of 66%.
Just over half (51%) of British respondents said they would choose to remain.
One-third (32%) of respondents across the EU has a positive view of the parliament, one-fifth (21%) has a negative view, and 43% remain neutral.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, said the fact that 51% of UK citizens surveyed want to stay in the EU “is a stark reminder of the deep divisions wrought by the Brexit decision and the need for us to find a sustainable and close long-term future relationship in the form of a broad and deep association agreement”.
“While we must prepare for all eventualities, it appears there is little appetite in the UK or elsewhere in the EU for a so-called hard Brexit or a costly no-deal scenario.
“I hope that the outcome of the negotiations will ultimately reflect this,” said Mr Verhofstadt.