The EU conducts regular surveys of attitudes among the 500 million people across the Union. This is the so-called Standard Eurobarometer poll.

The latest survey shows that optimism about the future of the EU is highest in Ireland among all the 28 Member States.

Of the people polled in Ireland in November 2016, 77% in Ireland were optimistic about the EU. This compares to an EU average of 50%. The Greek population was the least optimistic about the EU with only 30% of the population there being optimistic about the EU.

Those polled in Ireland were the most likely to have a positive image of the EU (55%), followed by Poland (51%) and Romania (50%). A further 31% of Irish respondents had a neutral image of the EU while 13% had a negative image of the EU. In the EU as a whole, 35% of respondents had a positive image of the EU, 38% had a neutral image and 25% had a negative image. Curiously, respondents in the UK became "more positive "(+3%) and less "very negative" (-4%) than the previous survey earlier in 2016 when asked the question: "In general, does the EU conjure up for you a very positive, fairly positive, neutral, fairly negative or very negative image?"

Those surveyed in Ireland (47%) were also the most positive about the direction in which the EU is going. But the average across the EU was more negative - only 23% that of respondents felt that in general things are going in the right direction in the EU.