28th Sep 2023

Brits, Danes and Swedes most against EU constitution

  • EU optimism is on the rise, according to the latest Eurobarometer (Photo:

Support for the EU among the bloc's citizens has risen to the highest level since early 1990s with two thirds favouring the concept of a European constitution, but a state-like EU charter is opposed most strongly in Britain, Denmark and Sweden.

According to a fresh Eurobarometer survey, to be published on Wednesday (20 June), a feeling of optimism about Europe has spread across the member states.

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Fifty nine percent of respondents said they consider EU membership as beneficial for their country - the highest percentage since 1991, while overall support for the union stands at 57 percent, at its highest since 1994.

The Dutch (77%), Irish (76%) and Luxembourgers (74%) are the staunchest supporters of the EU, while the biggest drop of positive sentiment was recorded in the Czech Republic (from 51 percent in autumn 2006 to 46%) and in Latvia (from 43% to 37%).

In three cases, those who think their country has not benefited outnumber those who take the opposite view, Hungary (52% 'not benefited' vs. 40% 'benefited'), Cyprus (46% vs. 44%) and the UK (44% vs. 43%), according to the document.

A constitution favoured

Just two days before EU leaders gather in Brussels for a meeting that is expected to definitely drop the state-like elements from the draft EU constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, the popular poll shows that a common charter would be favoured by 66 percent of citizens.

Compared to last autumn, support for the constitution has jumped in Spain, Estonia, Germany, Hungary and Poland, while it has decreased considerably in Greece, and to a lesser extent in Cyprus and Finland.

Overall, however, the idea enjoys the highest approval in Belgium (82%), Slovenia (80%) and Hungary (79%), and the least support in Britain (43%), Denmark (45%) and Sweden (47%).

Those polled were asked about the "concept" of a constitution and not the content of the 2005 document.

Asked about the future of the EU on its 50th anniversary, 61 percent of respondents said they think that in 50 years time the bloc will be "a leading diplomatic power in the world" while 56 percent believe the EU will have its own army.

Concerning the union's future enlargement, popular backing among Europeans has risen from 46 to 49 percent over the past six months while opposition to further expansion fell from 42 to 39 percent.

Poles and Lithuanians show the highest support for enlargement, while less than a third of the public felt this way in Luxembourg (25%), Austria (28%) and France (32%).


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