FTI Consulting recently completed EU Research with the general population in Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden & the UK in order to seek their view on EU related issues. This is particularly timely given the UK’s own drive for EU reform and inevitable referendum, as well as instability in the Euro primarily as a result of the Greek financial crisis. While numerous polls have looked at UK attitudes toward the EU, FTI Consulting has sought to look also at attitudes in other EU nations as well.
1 – Referendum vote If there were a referendum on their relationship with the EU with three options (remain in, leave or renegotiate), the majority in Germany & Estonia would vote to remain in, while the others are split amongst the three options with no majority. France is more partial to voting to remain, but renegotiate membership (+5% higher than the UK).
2 – Generation gap The majority of youth (18–29 yrs) in each country would vote to remain in the EU, while the difference in opinion with the older generation (55+ yrs) is greatest in the UK where 36% fewer would vote to remain.
3 – Renegotiate The most important thing to renegotiate with the EU is financial contribution to the EU budget, particularly for those in the UK. In contrast, those in France most want trade policy and competition renegotiated.
4 – Restructure Almost three quarters of respondents believe the EU should restructure in order to reduce running costs. Support for this is positively correlated with age (ie the older they are, the more they agree with this).
5 – Ever closer union The UK is the only country where the majority does not agree with the EU’s mission of ‘ever closer union’ among Member States, and this is negatively correlated with age (ie the older they are, the LESS they agree with this). However, the majority of those in the UK that had travelled to the EU in the past year agreed with this.
6 – I know you’ll miss us, right? The majority in France, Germany and Sweden doesn’t believe that the EU would be weaker and less influential globally without the UK. But the majority in the UK does.
7 – I want you, not you The majority in Germany believes that everything should be done to ensure the UK remains in the EU, but they have a very different attitude towards Greece, where the majority disagrees that everything should be done to keep Greece in the club. Those in Estonia are the least likely to go the extra mile to keep Greece in – 64% of respondents there disagreed with the statement.
8 – EU campaigning In terms of being involved in an EU membership referendum campaign, the majority in France and Germany thinks the EU should be able to campaign, while in the UK opinion is more divided, but on balance in favour.
9 – Fear unites The majority of respondents cited as the reasons to keep the EU strong and united as threats from Russia, extremists, illegal immigrants, promoting global unity and to counter financial and economic threats.
10 – Bad press A majority in each country believes that communication about the EU is on balance negative (particularly in the UK, with 3 in 4).