Cross-country attitudes towards Europe

Cross-country attitudes towards Europe

60% Brits would 'loosen ties' with EU while 63% Italians want federalised 'United States of Europe'

A recent cross-country survey conducted by YouGov Cambridge shows that Britons want a major revision of the UK's relationship with Europe; while France, Germany and Italy want more integration. The in-depth analysis of European attitudes has been prepared in the run up to a major London conference on the future of Europe on Thursday 15 March.

 Core findings:

  • Brits call for a major revision of the UK’s relationship with Europe
  • Eurozone and Britain heading in two starkly different directions - majority of people in France, Germany and Italy want more integration – and even in some cases a fully federalised “United States of Europe”
  • The dynamics of German public opinion threaten a break-up of the Eurozone, with significant opposition to a greater crisis-fighting role for Germany and the ECB

Brits call for a major revision of the UK’s relationship with Europe

  • 60% of Brits want a national referendum to decide on Britain’s relationship with the EU (versus 19% who don’t)
  • 60% want a looser relationship with the EU or to leave altogether, and to opt out of EU-wide policies enforced from Brussels (versus 27% who want continued full membership or closer union)
  • Only 14% want more integration with Europe and a further 13% want to keep things as they are with Britain as a full EU member

A majority of Brits want national control of almost all policy-areas including crime and justice (85%), laws on trade unions/strikes (80%), immigration (79%), agriculture (74%), financial regulation (68%), rights for workers (66%) and trade links with other countries (60%).

Findings show that Deputy PM Nick Clegg is out of step with a significant majority of his own party:

  • Half of Lib Dem voters want a looser relationship with the EU or outright withdrawal.
  • National versus European control shares similar support, for most major policy areas, among Lib Dem voters including immigration (70% of Lib Dems), trade links with other countries (51% of Lib Dems), rights for workers, (50% of Lib Dems), crime and justice (81% of Lib Dems), agriculture (77% of Lib Dems) and laws on trade unions and strikes (74% of Lib Dems).

Labour and Lib Dem voters unite on attitudes to regulation and economic recovery:

  • Majorities of both Labour (57%) and Lib Dem (66%) voters support an EU-wide tax on profits made by banks, compared with only 39% of Conservatives who support it.
  • UK voters in general show less support for an EU-wide tax on financial trading, but the public is still divided on this issue between a plurality of Labour (35%) and Lib Dem (39%) voters who support it, versus a plurality of Conservatives (41%) who oppose it

Changes to the Eurozone

Britain and the big Eurozone economies are moving in two starkly different directions. While Brits want less integration, a significant number of people in France, Germany and Italy want more integration – and even a fully federalised “United States of Europe”:

  • Europeans call for a US-style democratically elected EU President (61% of Italians support versus 15% who oppose/ 41% of Germans support versus 28% who oppose/ 46% of French support versus 23% who oppose).
  • …and a single EU military that decides when European nations go to war (55% of Italians support versus 18% who oppose/ 41% of Germans support versus 28% who oppose/ 43% of French support versus 30% who oppose).
  • 63% of Italians, nearly 40% of French and over 1/3 of Germans support turning the EU into a fully integrated “United States of Europe”.
  • Majorities of French, Germans and Italians want continued full EU membership or more Integration. (47% of French/ 62% of Germans/ 61% of Italians).

The dynamics of German public opinion could lead to a break-up of the Eurozone, with significant opposition to a greater crisis-fighting role for Germany and the ECB:

  • 51% of Germans say the main priority for the economy should be to curb inflation with less government spending.
  • Only 17% of Germans support the idea of Eurobonds, compared with 53% of Italians and 1/3 of French.
  • More than half of Germans think it’s wrong to spend taxpayers’ money to try and save the Eurozone.
  • Where 65% of Italians and 60% of French support lower interest rates for the EU as a whole, only 40% of Germans support.
  • Where 63% of Italians and 51% of French support making it easier for EU countries to borrow from the ECB, only 30% of Germans support.

Britain’s relations with the EU

Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers, Director of YouGov-Cambridge says, “Public opinion in the UK calls for a major revision of Britain’s relationship with the EU, with significant majorities who want a looser relationship with the EU, where almost all areas of policy are controlled by London, not Brussels.

These attitudes span the political divide, and challenge the current narrative advanced by the Liberal Democrat side of the coalition government, seeking to maintain current levels of integration with the EU or to expand them.”

European trends for integration

Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers, Director of YouGov-Cambridge says, “In other words, a majority of voters in the Eurozone’s big 3 want more integration and even some elements of a fully federalised United States of Europe. They also support Brussels having control of key-policy areas, and many of these voters see central EU government as the best framework for crisis-management and responding to continent-wide problems.

However, it should be noted that the desire for more integration and federal union in the Eurozone has its limits. No European country has a majority of people who are willing to cede national control in three key areas of power and statecraft, namely: national budgets, crime & justice, and the basic means of national production, in agriculture and industry.”

German public opinion

Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers, Director of YouGov-Cambridge says, “German public opinion presents a major obstacle to alternative paths for weaker Eurozone countries between default and exit from the Eurozone or heavy austerity and likely continued stagnation inside it. A shift towards greater ECB activism would evidently require leadership from Germany as Europe’s largest economy and its most powerful creditor.

As it currently stands, German opinion looks unlikely ever to support the expansion of backstop and bail-out roles for the European taxpayer, or the likely higher doses of European inflation that would come from policies designed to relieve the adjustment-pressure on peripheral debtors like Greece, such as greater monetary easing, allowing the ECB to become European lender-of-last-resort, a Euro-depreciation to support current-account deficits, the collectivisation of European debt or fiscal redistribution to weaker regions.

In other words, a majority of Germans say to Greece and other peripheral debtors: exit the Eurozone or enter a generation of heavy austerity.”

 

UK

Germany

France

Italy

Relationship with the EU?

%

%

%

%

SURVEY COUNTRY staying as a full EU member and working for a more integrated Europe than now

14

40

31

44

SURVEY COUNTRY staying as a full EU member but using the power of veto to block any moves towards a more integrated Europe than

13

22

16

17

TOTAL SAME OR MORE INTEGRATION

27

62

47

61

SURVEY COUNTRY having a looser arrangement with the EU, based on maintaining trade and cooperation on some common policies, but opting out of EU-wide policies enforced by a European government in Brussels

40

16

22

26

SURVEY COUNTRY withdrawing from the EU altogether

20

8

13

8

TOTAL LOOSER RELATIONSHIP

60

24

35

34

Don’t know

11

9

13

3

This poll used a nationally representative sample of British, German, French, Italian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian adults. Total sample size was 1523 GB adults, 1553 German adults, 1518 French adults, 1506 Italian adults, 1510 Norwegian adults, 1522 Swedish adults and 1506 Danish adults.

See the full survey results here

See the original press release here

For more information please contact PR Executive Giovanna Clark or call YouGov on +44(0)20 7012 6000

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