Sunday 18 August 2019

Irish people most upbeat about EU's future - but immigration is a concern

Immigration is the top concern for Irish and Europeans overall. Stock Image
Immigration is the top concern for Irish and Europeans overall. Stock Image
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Irish people are the most optimistic about the future of Europe with more than three-quarters upbeat about the bloc's prospects.

Despite the shock of the Brexit vote in the UK and the imminent departure of our closest neighbour, the latest Eurobarometer poll shows 77pc of people are optimistic about the EU's future.

This compares to the European average of just 50pc, with the Greeks the most pessimistic at 30pc.

The study comes on the back of a crushing referendum defeat for the government in Italy and political unrest in other countries.

It was carried out in Ireland last month and involved a sample of 1,006 people.

The survey also shows that 69pc of Irish people feel that things are going in the right direction in the country.

This has jumped 14 percentage points since the spring and compares with a European average of 29pc.

People in Luxembourg were the second most positive at 61pc. However, the survey also found that more Irish people see housing (42pc) as the top national issue than people in almost every other EU country, with only Luxembourg coming ahead (51pc).

Irish people are also the most positive about the direction the EU is going, with 47pc believing the union is heading the right way.

This is significantly higher than the rest of Europe, where just 23pc of people on average feel that way.

Meanwhile, immigration is the top concern for Irish and Europeans overall.

The Eurobarometer poll reveals that the top three concerns for Irish citizens are immigration (41pc), terrorism (33pc), and the state of public finances (21pc).

However, 81pc of Irish respondents feel positive about immigration into Ireland, one of the top rates in the European Union.

Despite the concern about the State coffers, 64pc of those Irish people questioned said they believed the current situation of the economy is "good".

Irish Independent

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