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15 June 2017

Pew Research Center: Post-Brexit, Europeans more favorable toward EU

But many back empowering national governments on migration and trade, and they want their own vote on EU membership.

Recent years have seen turbulent shifts in public attitudes toward the European Union. Down just a year ago, before the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, public sentiment about the European project has rebounded. Even British voters, who narrowly elected to withdraw from the EU, have markedly improved their views of the Brussels-based institution.

But while few citizens on the European continent are eager to see their own country depart the EU, many want the chance to have their voice heard through their own referendum on EU membership. Moreover, frustrations with Brussels remain when it comes to economic management and dealing with the refugee issue. Asked whether they would like their national government to make decisions about the movement of people into their country and trade with other nations, roughly half or more across the countries surveyed answer, “Yes.”

These are some of the key findings from a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted among 9,935 respondents in France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom from March 2 to April 17, 2017. Together, these 10 European Union member states account for roughly 80% of the EU population and 84% of the EU economy.

When asked about the ramifications of the UK’s impending exit from the EU, publics in other member states generally agree that the British departure will be bad for the EU. They are less certain what Brexit will mean for the UK.

A median of just 18% in the nine continental EU nations surveyed want their own country to leave the EU. Greece and Italy are home to the largest support for exit, but even in these countries more than half want to remain a part of the European project. [...]

With Brexit looming, Germany’s influence in the EU is likely to grow. While Europeans have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Germany, a plurality (a median of 49%) believes Berlin has too much influence when it comes to decision-making in the EU.

Full survey

© Pew Research Center

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