EU membership retains widespread support around continent

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The perception of the European Union among European citizens remains close to its highest level since 2008. According to fresh data presented today in the latest Eurobarometer survey, just under 49% of respondents said that they viewed the European Union positively. 37% expressed a neutral opinion, with 14% sharing a negative reaction.

Citizens of Ireland (76%), Portugal (67%), Luxembourg, Sweden (both 63%) and Poland (58%) are most likely to hold a positive image of the EU, while a negative one is most often found among respondents in Austria and Greece (both 25%).

A small majority of Maltese citizens (52%) see the EU in a positive light with 42% expressing a neutral opinion. Less than 10% have a negative opinion. However, while only half of Maltese have expressed a positive view of how things stand, respondents almost unanimously agreed (89%) that EU membership has so far been beneficial to Malta.

This is significantly higher than the EU average, where still, a majority of EU citizens (72%) consider that it is a good thing that their country is a member of the European Union, with only 9% seeing EU membership as bad.

Respondents in Luxembourg (88%), Ireland (86%) and the Netherlands (81%) were the most likely to see their country’s membership in the EU as a good thing, while those in Slovakia (39%), Austria (41%) and Greece (42%) and are the least likely.

The reasons Europeans feel their country has benefitted from being a member of the EU include improved cooperation between their country and other EU countries, the EU’s contribution to their country’s economic growth as well as contribution to peace and security.

For the first time, the Eurobarometer asked respondents, irrespective of their EU views, to share the concerns which they think create negativity towards the Union, with the most common answer being that people have very little influence on decisions made at an EU level.

Respondents also argued that concerns could relate to people feeling that certain issues which are important for a specific country might best dealt with at national level as well as concern at the loss of border controls.

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