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85pc of Irish people view EU unity as a strength – MEP McGuinness welcomes new Eurobarometer poll

Mairead McGuinness523 views

“A new EU-wide survey has shown that a majority of Irish people and a large majority of Europeans view the unity and commonality of Europeans as a strength. While the results of this survey are heartening, respondents have called for greater EU action in some areas like migration and less in others. We need to reflect on the results while taking the reality of the UK Brexit vote into account,” Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament said following the publication of the latest Special Eurobarometer of the European Parliament.

“85 percent of Irish people and almost three quarters of Europeans (74 pc) think that what brings them together is more important than what separates them. That’s compared to just 19pc of Europeans who do not agree with that statement. This positive result has increased in 22 Member States, and exceeds 80pc in 12 Member States, including Ireland. In the UK, 72pc of respondents agreed with that statement. When you analyse that figure in terms of age, of that percentage, 83pc of the 15-24 age group of UK respondents supported the statement compared to 63% of those aged 50 years or older, perhaps reflecting a stronger pro-EU sentiment amongst younger UK citizens,” McGuinness added.

The survey on the perceptions and expectations Europeans have regarding the EU’s action, the fight against terrorism and radicalisation, and the mutual defence clause, was conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, from 9 to 18 April 2016, by TNS opinion. It is published shortly after the British voted for the withdrawal from the European Union.

“The survey also identifies areas where our citizens want more EU action and where they feel the EU response has been insufficient,” McGuinness confirmed.

“Most Europeans surveyed would like the EU to intervene more than at present in areas such as the fight against terrorism, unemployment and more. On the fight against terrorism, 69pc of Europeans consider EU action to be insufficient and 82pc would like to see the EU take more action. On the fight against unemployment, 69pc consider EU action to be insufficient and 77pc would like to see the EU take more action.

“On the issue of migration, for example, 66% consider EU action to be insufficient and 74pc would like to see the EU take more action. On the protection of external borders, 61pc consider EU action to be insufficient and 71pc would like to see the EU take more action.”

UK citizens felt EU should do more on a number of policies, but generally less on economic policy, agriculture, foreign policy and industrial policy.

The results can be downloaded online: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/20160623PVL00111