Wednesday

29th Mar 2017

Poll: Almost half of Brits want to leave the EU

  • British foreign office: 'Europe is changing. We don't know what the EU will end up looking like at the end of this crisis' (Photo: Paul Vallejo)

Almost half of British citizens would vote to leave the EU if there was a referendum, pollsters say.

A survey by Canadian firm Angus Reid out on Tuesday (14 August) noted that 46 percent would vote to leave.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It also said 54 percent believe the last 40 years of British EU membership has had a "negative" effect on the country and that 81 percent are happy they do not use the euro.

The numbers are more or less stable compared to December 2010 (the oldest data cited). At the time, 48 percent of people wanted Britain to leave.

Amid talk in the EU of a new banking union and political union, a UK foreign office spokesman told EUobserver that under the EU Act of 2011 a referendum is automatically triggered "if any of these changes result in a transfer of competence from the UK to the EU."

British elections are also a factor.

Ryan Bourne, an analyst at the London-based think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), said that when election time comes - whether it is 2015 as planned, or earlier - each party will have to take a clear line on the EU.

He noted the Conservative party might plump for two referendums.

In the first one, it would ask people to vote Yes or No on a list of demands - such as exempting the UK from EU employment, financial, social and trade laws - to take to Brussels.

If British people backed the list, but the EU rejected it, the second referendum would be on whether Britain should get out.

He added that the British public is more eurosceptic than the government.

"A lot of people have the belief that as a sovereign nation, our laws should be determined through our own democratic institutions," he said.

"People realise that in order to get out of the crisis we need growth, but they think some of the laws coming out of Brussels actually kill growth."

The European Commission made light of the Angus Reid results.

Frederic Vincent, a spokesman, said that Brussels will only comment on the prospect of a UK referendum after the British government actually announces one.

For its part, the British foreign office noted that referendum or no referendum, EU-UK relations will be different after the crisis.

"A choice of the status quo or out completely is the wrong question. Europe is changing. We don't know what the EU will end up looking like at the end of this crisis," its spokesman said.

UK promises thorough analysis of EU by 2014

The UK government has announced it will undertake a wide-ranging study of the EU so that any statements it makes about 'meddlesome' Brussels may be in future be backed up by hard evidence.

Analysis

From Bratislava to Rome: Little more than a show of unity

The so-called Bratislava process of reflection for the EU came to an end on Saturday, but there were few tangible results that citizens could take away from the soul-searching. Despite that, unity among the EU-27 has been maintained.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Opinion

Birthday wishes to the European Union

With the EU soon to celebrate its 60th birthday, there are still lingering questions about the bloc's future and whether there can be a change in fortune.

News in Brief

  1. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  2. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  3. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  4. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal
  5. EU majority against GM crops, but not enough to block them
  6. Turkish referendum voting starts in Europe
  7. Le Pen says she lacks election funds
  8. UN dinner for Cyprus leaders to restart stalled peace talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans