Europeans are distraught over the EU—but not enough to leave

There was great concern that Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU would create a ‘domino effect‘ of defectors across the bloc.

Far-right populist politician Marine Le Pen used this theory in her French presidential campaign to drum up support, Britain’s trade secretary used a party conference speech to warn that unhappiness with the EU could make more countries leave the EU following Brexit, and an Ipsos Mori poll showed nearly half of all Europeans wanted their own referendum.

But things have changed. Most Europeans are still unhappy with the EU—but most would vote to stay in, if there was a referendum, according to a study by German-based foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung. 10,755 people from all EU member countries took part in the survey, which was conducted in July this year.

Overall, 66% of Europeans are unhappy with the EU, with Italians being the most dissatisfied, and Germans being the most satisfied with the bloc:

Nation Dissatisfaction with direction of the EU
Italy 83%
Germany 72%
Poland 64%
Spain 63%
France 62%
EU-28 66%

Seventy percent of respondents across countries in the survey said they would vote ‘remain’. Even in Italy, where dissatisfaction is the highest, a majority would vote to remain in the bloc:

Nation Vote to remain in the EU
Spain 81%
Poland 79%
Germany 75%
France 69%
Italy 56%
EU-28 70%

The pro-EU sentiment could come down to how Brexit is unfolding. Bertelsmann Stiftung said in the survey that “ever since the British referendum that led to Brexit, these numbers are on the rise in Germany as well as in the EU as a whole.”

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