(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — As the theatre surrounding whether the U.K. will remain in the E.U. continues to bombard the press and social media, a poll has shown Euroscepticism is not restricted to Britain alone — it’s rising across Europe. As Britain prepares for a June 23 referendum to vote on whether to remain in the Brussels-based institution or not, the decision to leave has come to be known as “Brexit.” With just two weeks to go, recent research points to growing anti-E.U. sentiment and thousands of voters in key European countries who want powers returned from Brussels to their national governments.
The multi-nation Pew Research Center Poll surveyed more than 10,000 people across Europe and discovered Brexit fever is spreading fast — and the British aren’t the only ones with doubts about the European Union. However, despite thousands losing faith in the institution, a narrow majority — a median of 51% — still favoured the bloc. A median of 42% wanted more power returned to their national capitals, 19% wanted to give Brussels even more power, and 27% were happy with the status quo.
Unsurprisingly, support for the E.U. was lowest in Greece. After suffering some of the toughest austerity measures yet, just 27% of Greeks hold a favourable opinion of the institution. In France, one of the six founding countries of the E.U., 61% have an unfavourable view of it today. Among Spaniards, whose economic recovery powers ahead despite the political crisis, support for the E.U. plummeted from 80% to 47%. In traditionally pro-E.U. Germany, 43% of those questioned believed some of the powers should be transferred from Brussels to their own government. In contrast, the strongest backers of the European Union were the Polish and the Hungarians.
In Britain, where the ‘in or out’ debate is characterised by emotive immigration rhetoric, anti-migrant propaganda, tons of theories and few facts, it’s no surprise pollsters have struggled to predict a clear outcome for the referendum. For example, surveys this week put the ‘Leave’ camp ahead, only to show the exact opposite hours later, Reuters reported.
Despite the spike in anti-E.U. sentiment, 44% of Britons still view the E.U. favourably, and the consensus amongst mainstream European leaders and institutions is that a Brexit would be damaging to the U.K. and Europe. Others believe the referendum could have a domino effect, with other countries deciding to leave if Britain does. Whether participants were impressed by Brussels or not, 70% of those questioned agreed that a British exit would harm the 28-member bloc.
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