20% of EU citizens think UK should leave union

More than one in five non- British EU citizens want the United Kingdom to leave the union while the majority show little concern for a possible Brexit.

That rises to 25% among French citizens in favour of the UK leaving exiting, according to an EU-wide opinion poll conducted by the Bertelsmann foundation, a non-profit arm of Bertelsmann, the German multinational media group. An analysis of ‘eupinions’, an EU-wide opinion poll commissioned by Bertelsmann Stiftung (Foundation), shows 54% of EU citizens want the UK to remain but more than 21% of those questioned want it to leave.

Those who fear consequences for their own country are in the minority.

Spain and Poland are the countries most heavily in favour of the UK remaining (64% and 61%) while a slight majority of citizens in Italy (55%) and Germany (54%) are also opposed to a Brexit. That figure falls to 41% in France.

When it comes to the consequences of a Brexit for the EU and its member states, there is a lot of uncertainty. Although many fear that the EU would be weakened, they do not foresee any negative consequences for their own countries.

Only 45% of EU citizens outside of the UK expect the position of the EU to be worsened by a Brexit and an equal proportion of 45% said that they did not believe anything would change.

In terms of the changes that the participants could foresee, economic ones were at the forefront, with 45% believing that a Brexit would economically weaken the EU, while just over a quarter of those questioned, 26%, fear that the EU would suffer a loss of power without the British.

In Poland and Germany, a narrow majority is worried about a Brexit but the French, Spanish and Italians believe it would not have negative consequences. The poll did not give figures for Ireland.

“Even though many citizens are more preoccupied with their everyday concerns than they are with the results from London, all Europeans would lose out if the UK leaves,” said Aart De Geus, chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

However, most fellow EU citizens do not share his concerns as 67% outside the UK do not expect a Brexit to have an impact on their country.

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