EU Citizens are United, But They Want Politicians to Resolve Brexit or Fear Further Break-up
While united in their attachment to the EU, European voters are divided on what they expect the Union to be. While U.K. voters remain deeply divided on Brexit a majority of those on the Continent fear of a “domino effect “ (if the U.K. leaves, more will follow) – and it is here both UK and EU citizens are aligned.
A majority of European citizens believe that Brexit is worse for the EU (58%, increasing to 62% in the UK) than it is for the UK (51%). But neither Europeans nor Brits are overwhelmingly convinced that Brexit finally will happen – 39% in Europe feel that ultimately the UK will remain (with 27% in the U.K. expecting a reversal of the 2016 vote and 29% unsure). It seems therefore that uncertainty will continue to dominate EU politics. In Eastern Europe this attitude prevails – 48% say that at the end of the day U.K. will stay in the Union while only 37% believe she will leave.
Majorities of citizen on both sides of the Channel want more flexibility from the EU in the Brexit negotiations so that a deal is reached. This suggests that if there is a disagreement on the current deal it’s not between the ordinary citizens but among the political elite.
A majority of Brits voted for Brexit because only a minority of Brits feel European (42%) and it is here our survey reveals the big difference with the Continent where 71% of voters across the EU feel European – a disparity doubt in part driven by decades of anti EU rhetoric covered in the British press. The identity factor is the heart of the problem.
Upcoming European Parliament Elections
Just ten days before the European elections voters across the Continent remain deeply divided on whether these elections will deliver change. One in two (49%) expect positive impact while slightly fewer (41%) feel the elections will not result in change within the EU. Positive expectations increase to six out of ten among those identifying themselves as EU citizens while negative expectations dominate (65%) among those who are more removed from the EU. A majority in the original EU bloc (the West and North EU member States) are not expecting any positive change following the European elections while a majority in South Europe and New EU members states are more optimistic about the outcome.
Those on the left in the EU are split (45% to 44%) in their expectations for change resulting from these elections while a slight majority of voters occupying a more central ground (50% to 40%) are positive; a clear majority among the right wing voters (58% to 36%) expect a positive development. This reflects the increase in populist parties gaining ground across the EU.
Two separate surveys were carried out representing comparison between Total EU and UK public opinion on Brexit and EU future. A total 3034 EU citizens and 2084 UK citizens were interviewed online
EU Data: Representative for the EU survey was carried out by the Gallup International Association in all the European Union Members States (UK excluded) between April 29th and May 6th . An experimental sample design has been set to represent the EU27 as a whole, while each of the countries is presented with the respective share of the population and internal socio-demographic structure balanced by gender and age interlocked.
UK Data: Between May 10th and 12th an online survey among a nationally representative sample of adults across the UK was carried out.