Survey: The European Union, its citizens, writers and artists through the eyes of Irish writers
In many EU member states, people vaguely know that the European Union is a good thing. This certainly appears to be the case in Ireland, where according to the latest Eurobarometer survey of Winter 2020/21 (no. 94) 74% of the population state that the EU evokes positive feelings (the second highest percentage of all member states) while only 6% are negatively disposed towards it. The percentage with a positive evaluation has increased again during the present Covid-19 crisis. We tried to get a little closer to what this positive disposition towards the EU actually means and asked the 41 writers from the island of Ireland involved in this project to give us their sense of the role, image and visibility of the European Union in Irish culture and what importance they attach to Ireland’s EU membership and the EU citizenship it bestows. We also wanted to explore the extent of the writers’ personal interaction with continental European culture and their assessment of how much, beyond the utilitarian realms of the political and economic, other EU member states and their cultures (and languages) matter in the Ireland of today, in other words how ‘European’ Ireland really is after nearly fifty years of EEC/EC/EU membership. And, indeed, whether its self-definition in this way might be a good thing in any case.
The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions within three sections: European culture and you; the EU’s visibility; the EU and Ireland. The answers are currently being edited and a summary of the findings will be published on this website before the end of July. This part of the project is co-ordinated by the Jean Monnet Chair in European Cultural Studies at the University of Limerick.