Number of Irish people “satisfied” the EU’s covid response drops by 15% – EU survey

56% of Irish people say they are satisfied with the EU’s covid-19 response – a 15% drop since summer 2020 – according to a new continent-wide poll by Eurobaromater, with many more interesting findings.

The report, entitled Public Opinion In The European Union, found that half of all Europeans are unhappy with the EU’s covid-19 response, with many countries, including Ireland, seeing a significant drop in public confidence since last year with the bloc’s handling of the crisis.

According to the survey, 49% of Europeans were unhappy with measures taken by the EU, while 43% were satisfied, and 8% undecided.

However, when asked if they “tend to trust” the European Union, 74% of Irish people polled responded positively – a 1% increase since the summer – with only 26% saying they “tended not to trust” the EU.

In fact, according to the survey, Ireland is the second most trusting country of Brussels, beaten only by Portugal – 70% of Irish people say they trust the EU to make the right decisions in future.

Similarly, Portugal and Ireland ranked #1 and #2 respectively for the countries with the most positive view of the EU, with 76% of Portugeuse polled having a positive view of the EU (a 21% increase since last summer) and 75% of Irish having a positive view of the bloc (a 4% increase since last summer).

When asked how they thought the economy was doing, 42% of Irish respondents said overall things were “good”, while 58% said things were “bad” – a 6% drop in optimism since last year. 70% of Irish people surveyed say they think the economy will not recover until 2023 or later.

On the subject of the Euro, 91% of Irish people said they were “for” the single currency, with a mere 9% saying they were against it.

Respondents were then asked to pick the two most important issues currently facing Europe from the following list:

  1. Health
  2. The economic situation
  3. Public finances
  4. The environment and climate change
  5. Immigration
  6. Unemployment
  7. Rising prices/inflation/the cost of living
  8. EU’s influence in the world
  9. Terrorism
  10. Crime
  11. Pensions
  12. Energy supply
  13. Taxation

For Irish responders, the top 3 most commonly mentioned issues facing Europe, in order, were the Economic Situation (40% gave this as an answer), Health (39%) and The Environment/Climate Change (34%).

However, when asked what were the top issues facing Ireland specifically, Irish people gave Health (54%), Housing (35%) and the Economic Situation (25%) as the 3 most commonly mentioned issues.

For contrast, just 4% gave crime as an answer, 2% gave immigration, 2% mentioned taxation, 2% for pensions, and 14% brought up the “environment and climate change” as one of the top 2 issues facing the country.

When asked how satisfied they were with the Irish government’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic, 53% of Irish people said they were overall satisfied to a greater or lesser extent, with 47% saying they were not satisfied.

In terms of how the lockdown affected them personally, 41% of Irish responders said they found the home confinement measures “difficult” to cope with, while 18% said they found it “easy” or “very easy” to cope with. 41% said they found it a mix of both easy and difficult.

Ireland was found to be the #1 most enthusiastic country for vaccines, with 74% of Irish people saying they had either been vaccinated or would like to get vaccinated as soon as possible – more willingness than any other country asked.

The survey was conducted between the 12th of February and the 11th of March across the 27 EU countries and 12 non-EU countries, and the Irish part was carried out by Kantar Belgium based on a sample of 1,094 interviews.

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