Nearly half of voters in eight big European Union countries want to be able to vote on whether to remain members of the bloc, just as Britons will in a referendum next month, according to an opinion poll published on Monday (9 May).
45% of more than 6,000 people surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden said they wanted their own vote, and a third would opt to leave the EU if given the chance, poll firm Ipsos-MORI said.
The size of the potential “Out” vote ranges from as high as 48 and 41 percent in Italy and France respectively to as low as 22 and 26% in Poland and Spain, the firm said.
“The Italians in particular hope to have their own opportunity to go to the polls on their EU membership, which lends a sense that even if the (British) vote does … stick with the status quo in June, it will not be the end of the EU’s woes,” said Bobby Duffy, head of social research at Ipsos-MORI.
Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has grown into the country’s second-biggest political force, and wants an exit from the euro currency zone. France’s hard-right National Front party also wants to drop the single currency.
The Ipsos-MORI online poll found that 49% of people in the eight countries thought Britain would vote to leave the EU on June 23, higher than the number in Britain itself, which
stood at 35%, the survey showed.
And 51% said a so-called Brexit would hurt the EU’s economy, while only 36% thought it would hurt Britain’s.
British “Out” campaigners have said the country would be in a strong position in any negotiations on a new trade deal after leaving the bloc, given its standing as the world’s fifth-biggest economy.
The “Out” campaign has also warned that the EU is destined for deeper political union, but the Ipsos-MORI poll showed few voters in Europe think that is likely.
Just over 20%of respondents in all nine EU countries covered by the survey, including Britain, thought there would be more integration by 2020 compared with 40% who thought there would be less.
Forty-eight percent of voters thought a Brexit vote next month would result in other countries also leaving the bloc, compared with 18% who disagreed.
The poll was conducted between March 25 and April 8.