Sunday

25th Feb 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit

Britain wants to negotiate with Brussels the end date of the Brexit transition period - without saying what their preferred end date would be. The UK's position paper disagrees with the EU on other key points too.

Barnier warns UK Brexit transition period 'not a given'

After one of the tensest week so far in Brexit talks, 'substantial' disagreements remain between the UK and the EU over transition, with Michel Barnier insisting London needs to decide on the future relationship and Ireland for Brexit to happen.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?