Fol­low­ing Brexit, cit­i­zens still hold to Euro­pean values

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - 60 YEARS OF EUROPEAN UNITY - — John Daly

In a Euro­barom­e­ter sur­vey con­ducted across all states of the EU soon af­ter the United King­dom voted to leave, the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents con­tin­ued to hold a pos­i­tive view of the Euro­pean Union, and agreed it em­bod­ies peace, so­cial equal­ity and sol­i­dar­ity, and tol­er­ance and open­ness to others.

Ir­ish peo­ple are among the most pos­i­tive to­wards the EU, at 80%.

Un­em­ploy­ment, so­cial in­equal­i­ties, mi­gra­tion is­sues and ter­ror­ism and se­cu­rity is­sues are seen as the main cur­rent chal­lenges for the EU. But three in four Ir­ish be­lieve the EU of­fers a pos­i­tive per­spec­tive for your peo­ple. Across the EU, re­spon­dents said com­pa­ra­ble liv­ing and education stan­dards, and well-de­fined ex­ter­nal bor­ders would be most help­ful for the fu­ture of Europe.

Peace prin­ci­ples

Most re­spon­dents to the sur­vey, in­clud­ing large and grow­ing ma­jori­ties in Ire­land, sup­ported more Euro­pean-level de­ci­sion mak­ing in a range of key pol­icy ar­eas — in­clud­ing fight­ing ter­ror­ism, pro­mot­ing democ­racy and peace, pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and deal­ing with mi­gra­tion is­sues.

Al­though most agree more de­ci­sion mak­ing should take place at the EU level, re­spon­dents’ opin­ions were di­vided over a “twospeed Europe”.

The ma­jor­ity say coun­tries that are ready to in­ten­sify the de­vel­op­ment of a com­mon Euro­pean pol­icy in cer­tain im­por­tant ar­eas should do so with­out hav­ing to wait for the others.

En­sur­ing sta­blity

When com­par­ing the EU with the rest of the world, most re­spon­dents con­sider the EU a place of sta­bil­ity in a trou­bled world — an opin­ion shared by the large ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents in each EU mem­ber state, in­clud­ing 81% of Ir­ish peo­ple.

When i t comes to the po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence of the EU com­pared to other global pow­ers, the EU is con­sid­ered to have a weaker po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence than Rus­sia, China or the United States — but stronger than Ja­pan, Brazil and In­dia.

Guardian of so­ci­ety

So­cial equal­ity and sol­i­dar­ity, as well as en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and progress and in­no­va­tion, are seen as be­ing the most im­por­tant prin­ci­ples to help Euro­pean so­ci­ety deal with global chal­lenges. In ad­di­tion, “cul­tural di­ver­sity and open­ness to others” was men­tioned al­most as of­ten as free trade and the mar­ket econ­omy.

Sur­veyed af­ter the Brexit vote, most EU cit­i­zens still favour ‘Europe’.

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