Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

One in 10 Brits think UK has upper hand in Brexit talks

  • British PM Theresa May (c) with Germany's Angela Merkel (l) and France's Emmanuel Macron (r). (Photo: Consilium)

Britons have no illusion about who has the upper hand in negotiations, while French and Norwegian people are more supportive of Brexit than they are, according to a new poll in seven EU countries.

The latest Eurotrack survey said only 10 percent of Brits felt that their country "has the upper hand in the Brexit negotiations," compared to 19 percent of Germans and 27 percent of French.

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

On the opposite side, 67 percent of Brits said it was the EU that has the upper hand. That is more than Germans (50 percent) or French (36 percent).

The Eurotrack survey is a regular report conducted by the UK's YouGov polling firm in seven countries - UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.


According to the poll, 37 percent of French respondents would "prefer that Britain stays in the EU", compared to 39 percent of British respondents, 55 percent of Germans, 62 percent of Danes, 59 percent of Swedes and 54 percent of Finns.

In Norway, a non-EU country, 37 percent also would prefer the UK to stay in the EU.

A majority of respondents in all seven countries said that the UK should leave the EU "only after Brexit negotiations are complete" rather than "immediately".

In the UK, 48 percent said they preferred Brexit and 30 percent that they would prefer that it happened "immediately".

The survey was conducted between 13 and 19 December, at the time of the last EU summit, on 14-15 December, when EU-27 leaders agreed that talks had made "sufficient progress" and could enter their second phase - about the future EU-UK relationship.

On 8 December, after weeks of EU pressure and amid domestic tensions, UK prime minister Theresa May clinched a deal with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker about the three main Brexit issues - citizens' rights, the financial settlement, and a commitment to avoid a "hard border" in Ireland.

The YouGov poll showed that Britons, like their government, are looking mainly at the trade benefits they hope to get from Brexit.

Top priorities

When asked what should be the government's "top priority for the Brexit negotiations with the EU", Brits put first "allowing British companies to trade with the EU without tariffs or restrictions" (38 percent), and "allowing Britain to make its own trade deals with countries outside the EU" (37 percent).

Control of EU immigration (34 percent) and co-operation with the EU on security and counter-terrorism (32 percent) came just behind. Preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland was a priority for only 16 percent of respondents.

In the EU, the priorities were quite different.

"Ensuring that the UK pays what it owes upon leaving" was the top priority in Germany (41 percent) and France (38 percent), while security co-operation was the main concern in Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

In the meantime, a majority of Europeans reject the idea, laid out by German Social-Democrat leader Martin Schulz, of a 'United States of Europe' in which members states that rejected a new federal constitution would have to leave.

Schulz's vision was supported by 30 percent of Germans, 28 percent of French people, and only by 12-13 percent of respondents in the Nordic countries.

EU says Brexit transition to end in December 2020

There is no 'a la carte' transition period, the chief EU Brexit negotiator said, adding that the UK will have to comply with EU rules and policies without taking part in making decisions.

Barnier rules out special trade deal for UK

The chief EU negotiator reiterated that during the transition period the UK would have to follow EU rules, including ones introduced after the UK leaves the bloc in 2019.

UK to create 'no-deal' Brexit minister

No-deal minister to be attached to department for exiting the EU under David Davis to show Britain is serious in its negotiation threats.

News in Brief

  1. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  2. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  3. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  4. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election
  5. EU interior ministers to meet in Paris on migration
  6. Schinas nominated as Greek commissioner
  7. Sea-Watch captain hopes for change in EU migrant rules
  8. Russia willing to join EU payment scheme on Iran deal

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.

Opinion

How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament

British plans to - maybe - take part in EU elections risk legal chaos in the next European Parliament, which could be resolved only by treaty change - an unlikely prospect.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  2. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  3. Abortion Wars
  4. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  5. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  6. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  7. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  8. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us