The European Union embodies a new tier of governance at the European level and one that increasingly impacts upon many issues of contemporary public policy. Yet are people aware, can they identify with the EU and its activities? Do they know why and which policy areas are regulated at the European level, how decisions are made in Brussels, or do they simply feel alienated from the EU? The links between the individual citizen and the EU integration process actually matter more now than at any time in the EU's short history as public opinion has emerged, as seen through a number of referendums, as a potential constraint to the project of 'ever closer union'. The issue of public attitudes towards the EU is an increasingly salient concern for member state governments given the pending referenda in at least nine EU member states on the 'Constitution for Europe'. Yet, the public seem disengaged and the lowest ever turnout (45 per cent) at the European elections in 2004 illustrates a further example of this malaise. This article examines specifically public knowledge of and attitudes towards European integration in Northern Ireland. It reveals a considerable 'information deficit' on all things EU related which manifests itself in high levels of alienation, ignorance and uninterest after some 30 years of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.
McGowan, L., & O'Connor, J. S. (2004). Exploring Eurovisions: awareness and knowledge of the European Union in Northern Ireland. Irish Political Studies, 19(2), 21-42. https://doi.org/10.1080/0790718042000311999