The decision made by Britain to leave the EU and the political and economic consequences that will follow have made a measurable impact for citizens of other member states: their support of the European Union has grown.
More Europeans wish to be a part of the European Union. Between March 2016 and August 2016 the support for being a member of the Union grew by five per cent, and is now at 62 % across Europe. Notable is the increase in the United Kingdom, before the Referendum only 49 % said they would vote to remain. The eupinions survey in August found that 56 % would have voted to stay in the Union, this is an increase of seven per cent. This trend can be observed in almost all member states of the European Union that were represented in eupinions (figure 1).
Approval of the European Union grew by eight per cent in Germany (from 61 % to 69 %), by nine per cent in Poland (from 68 % to 77 %), by three per cent in France (from 50 % to 53 %), and in Italy it grew by two per cent (49 % to 51 %). The only outlier is Spain where approval shrunk from a high rating of 71 per cent to, although still high, 69 per cent. The British referendum concerning the exit of the European Union and its political and economic consequences seems to have left a clear impression on other European citizens.
eupinions are European wide surveys by the Bertelsmann Stiftung. We keep asking the following question in the surveys, ‘Imagine you could decide in a referendum whether your country is to remain a member of the European Union, how would you vote?’ We ask more than 10 000 citizens in all member states. This way we are able to gather a representative answer for the Union as a whole as well as the six largest countries. There were three possible answers; first ‘I would vote for my country to leave the EU’, second ‘I would vote for my country to remain in the EU’, and finally ‘I would not vote’.
The number of Europeans that would have voted to leave in August was lower than in March, which means less support for leaving the EU. Across the EU it sank from 30 per cent to 26 per cent, in the United Kingdom it moved from 36 per cent to 31 per cent, in Germany it sank from 26 per cent to 21 per cent, France moved from 34 per cent to 31 per cent, Poland moved from 20 per cent to 17 per cent, and Spain sank from 19 per cent to 18 per cent (figure 2).
In Italy, more people than in any other member state would vote for their country to leave the EU: 43 per cent in March, today 41 per cent.
The number of Europeans which agreed to the third option, that they would not vote, is at 12 per cent across the Union. In the individual states this number is between 16 per cent in France and six per cent in Poland. In Germany the number of individuals that would not vote is around ten per cent, in the United Kingdom it is 13 per cent, Italy eight per cent, and in Spain 13 per cent would choose not to take a position whether their country should leave the EU (figure 3).