Wednesday

24th Apr 2019

Brexit vote prompted rebound in pro-EU feeling

  • Europeans wanted to stay part of the EU, but to have more say on their own affairs (Photo: Paul Lloyd)

Europeans appreciate the EU more than they did before Brexit, but want more say over their own affairs, including in referendums on EU membership.

A new survey by US pollster Pew, out on Thursday (15 June), showed that pro-EU feeling rose by 18 points in Germany and France and by some 15 and 13 points in the Netherlands and Spain, respectively, in the year after the Brexit vote.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Merkel is seen as becoming too powerful (Photo: elysee.fr)

It went up 10 points in the UK itself and also climbed in Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Sweden, but went down slightly in Italy.

The rebound coincided with increased confidence in national economies, Pew said, even though almost half of Europeans disapproved of the EU’s economic policies - a disapproval rating that reached sky-high levels in southern Europe, where the EU has become associated with heartless austerity.

The general pro-EU rebound also coincided with most people’s thoughts that Brexit would be a “bad thing” for the UK.

The Brexit schadenfreude hit 80 percent in Germany and over 60 percent in France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

It was blunted by equally high levels of people who felt that Brexit would also be bad for the EU.

But in the UK itself, Brexit remorse was voiced by 48 percent of people, compared to just 44 percent who believed that it would end well.

Pew’s findings were matched at the ballot box in recent months, with victory denied to anti-EU parties in The Netherlands and France. Similarly, in the UK, the ruling Conservative party, which had called for a hard Brexit, almost lost their power in the general election on 8 June.

But for any European Commission spokespersons who might like to use the findings in their press conferences, the survey also said that most Europeans would like to have their own say on the EU in UK-type referendums.

Very few people actually wanted their country to leave the bloc - just 18 percent overall.

But 65 percent of Spanish people and 61 percent of French people said they wanted a Brexit-type referendum, as did more than 50 percent of respondents in Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Italy.

The survey also found that the EU had misjudged the public mood by imposing migrant relocation quotas on its member states and by pushing to negotiate trade deals en bloc.

Sixty-six percent of people overall disapproved of the EU’s handling of the refugee crisis.

The feeling was the strongest in Greece (91%) and Italy (81%), which both faced migrant bottlenecks due to lack of EU solidarity on migrant sharing, but it was also high in Germany (59%) and Sweden (78%), which took in the most refugees, as well as in Hungary (66%) and Poland (65%), which have boycotted the commissions’ migrant quotas.

The vast majority (74%) said they wanted their own governments to decide on who gets to reside in their countries.

A smaller majority (51%) also said their own leaders should negotiate trade deals instead of leaving the matter up to the EU - sentiments that were reflected in this year’s near rupture of an EU-Canada trade deal (Ceta) and in long-standing protests against a planned EU-US trade accord (TTIP).

Pew noted that with the UK set to leave the bloc, Germany would become even more powerful in the EU.

Most Europeans (71%), with the exception of Greece, had a favourable view of Berlin and of German leader chancellor Angela Merkel (52%).

But almost half of people overall said Germany had too much sway over EU decisions, in sentiments that hit the highest levels in Greece, Italy, and Spain, which were the principal targets of German-led austerity policies, as well as in Hungary and Poland, which dislike Merkel's open-door policy on migrants.

May clings to power with Northern Irish unionists

May announced the formation of a minority government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party. She might not be in power for too long, and the clock keeps ticking for Brexit negotiations.

First Brexit meeting to focus on organisation

Before focusing on citizens' rights, negotiators Barnier and Davis will discuss - in French and English - about the structure of talks in their first official negotiating session in Brussels on Monday.

News in Brief

  1. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions
  2. Romania adopts new rules weakening corruption fight
  3. Sturgeon pledges 2nd Scottish independence referendum
  4. Political deadlock looms at Sunday's Spanish election
  5. Le Pen in Copenhagen for talks with new key ally
  6. Trump to meet May and Macron on Europe visit in June
  7. Johnson's sister to run in EU elections on new list
  8. Weber pledges to 'block' Nord Stream 2 as president

Feature

'Swexit' off menu at election for first time in 24 years

The Swedish Left Party have abandoned euroscepticism to campaign on climate change - whilst the hard-right Sweden Democrats spy possibilities of a link up with Matteo Salvini of Italy and France's Marine Le Pen.

Opinion

Brexit vs Grexit: The six stages of losing to the EU

Theresa May's venture seems very similar to the attempt by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 to persuade Brussels to accept his terms for the bail out - a huge negotiation failure, presented to the public as the best possible deal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  2. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  3. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  4. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections
  5. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  6. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  7. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  8. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us