True tales behind Euro myths and fantasy headlines
People in Ireland are among the most optimistic about their health with 84.2% of people here aged 25 to 64 perceiving their health to be good or very good, third highest in the EU after Cyprus (85%) and Greece (84.7%). The EU average was 73.3% (in 2015).
At the height of last year’s Brexit campaign, a featurelength film by the ‘Vote Leave’ campaigners — called Brexit: The Movie — presented the typical ‘EU regulated man’ waking up from sleeping on an EU regulated pillow, the result of five daft EU laws for the pillowcase and 109 for its contents — that is, if we were to believe the makers of the film.
While the many benefits of Ireland’s EU membership are clear to us here — such as unhindered access to a very lucrative market of over 500 million people; 700,000 jobs created, and foreign direct investment having increased from just €16m in 1972 to more than €30bn today — the same view does not necessarily pertain to our nearest neighbours.
Over the years, certain vociferous sections of the UK tabloid press have taken a distinct glee in unearthing new ‘Euro-myths’ — bendy cucumbers, bagpipe bans and bare-faced interference with busty barmaids.
If the possibility of ‘those Brussels Eurocrats’ up and deciding to rename yoghurt ‘fermented milk pudding’ gets you exercised, no doubt you’ll be equally discomfited by the directive on eggs which would apparently have to be stamped with the home address of the farmer, and can no longer be sold by the dozen.
The Euro myth has been an amusing staple of UK journalism for quite some time, and — even following the country’s eventual departure from the EU — will likely remain so for many years ahead.