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Nearly half of Europeans want their own referendum on staying in the EU

Reuters/Yves Herman
  • Aamna Mohdin
By Aamna Mohdin


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Britain is gearing up to vote in a referendum that will decide its fate within the European Union. There were fears the vote—set for June 23—would set off a domino effect across the European Union and it’s easy to see why.

When a recent survey asked voters in eight big European nation whether their own country should hold a referendum on EU membership, nearly half answered yes.

They Ipsos-MORI survey is based on interviews with 1,030 adults aged 16-64 in 14 countries, including nine EU countries that represent approximately three-quarters of the EU’s population and 80% of its GDP.

The appetite for a referendum differs between different European countries—only 38% of respondents from Hungary are calling for a referendum, while that number jumps to 55% and 58% for France and Italy, respectively.

When asked how they would vote if their country held such a referendum, a third of respondents said they’d vote for their country to leave the EU, though this differed dramatically between different nationalities.

While 48% of Italians and 41% of French respondents said they’d vote to leave the EU if they could, only 26% of respondents in Poland and 26% of Spanish respondents said they would.

Forty-eight percent of respondents within the EU thought Britain leaving the EU—a so-called Brexit—would lead to other member states following suit. When the same question was posed to respondents outside the EU, 42% thought other countries would also leave the EU if Britain exited.

This isn’t the first time Britain or the European community has been faced with the question.

Shortly after entering the predecessor the EU, the European Economic Community, British prime minister Harold Wilson held a referendum in 1975 on whether Britain should remain a member. The result was unanimous—two-thirds of voters wanted to stay in in.

Over 30 years later, Britain is far less decisive. The current prime minister claims the UK doesn’t want a United States of Europe, but he hasn’t been much clearer on what Britain really wants. (Spoiler alert: nobody really knows). That hasn’t t stopped Brits from debating every possible impact of Brexit, from national security, to England’s beloved soccer league.

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