Grateful Ulster is keen to stay in EU, says survey
Northern Ireland people are repaying the generosity of European funding by staying loyal to the EU, a Danske Bank survey said today.
The bank surveyed 1,000 people across Northern Ireland on the hot topic of EU membership.
Just under 60% wanted to remain in the EU, compared with only 16% who wanted to exit and just over a quarter who said they were uncertain.
Over 60% of men wanted to remain in the EU compared to 53% of females - and men were more likely to have made their minds up on the issue. While 58% of those surveyed expressed a desire to stay in the EU, around 14% said they wanted to stay, but only if the UK renegotiated the terms and conditions of membership.
The survey results indicate higher support for EU membership in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain.
The latest polls in Britain show that the public there are divided on the question, with the most recent survey showing 45% want to stay in Europe, 38% want to leave and 18% are undecided.
Danske Bank chief economist Angela McGowan said: "Support for EU membership is most likely higher in Northern Ireland because the region has always been a net recipient of EU funding.
"The Common Agricultural Policy, structural funds, rural development funds and the peace and reconciliation monies have all made a dramatic contribution to life in Northern Ireland over the last 40 years."
Northern Ireland people appeared to be less irked by the rules and regulations which emanate from Europe.
Ms McGowan added: "There are also some valid criticisms of the European Union around burdensome regulation on small companies and the Greek bailout earlier this year was considered by many to have pushed the democratic boundaries.
"Nonetheless, it appears that people in Northern Ireland, particularly older people, have an appreciation for the traditional support that flowed from Europe to Northern Ireland and many in the business community and in border areas enjoy being part of a larger market."