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International Survey on EU Prospects

countriesDecembre 2015.One in three European citizens would go to the polls if an imaginary referendum on the whether his nation should stay in or exit from the European Union were held. This is what a survey by Gallup International in 14 EU member-countries found. The counties surveyed were both founding members of the Union – like France, Germany and the Netherlands, and most recently admitted countries – like Bulgaria and Romania. It is only in Great Britain however that the urge to quit the Union is overwhelming – 54% of British respondents in the survey firmly hold this position. Relatively high rates of disappointment with EU are also registered in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Conversely, attitudes in favour of continued membership dominate in Germany and France, with support values of 72% and 65% respectively. Romania (with a support rate of 85%), and Bulgaria (with 82%) retain their status as most ardent champions of Europe.  

Over the past year disillusionment with the European Union has more noticeably affected Greece, Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Italy. In three counties alone – Denmark, Romania and Germany slight improvement in attitudes towards the EU has been registered.

Support for the common currency among Eurozone members has significantly eroded: in a majority of counties surveyed a most respondents oppose the Euro. In the two key Eurozone members – Germany and France, as well as in Spain – majorities in favour of retaining the Euro as common currency are present.  Among Eurozone members stronger anti-Euro sentiments are registered in Italy and Greece. Among non-members of the Eurozone strongest opposition against adopting the common currency exists in Great Britain (with 83% respondents against), Sweden (with 80%) and Denmark (with 76%).

Where are we?

Along with Romania and Ireland, Bulgaria is among countries with strongest pro-European sentiments, but a relatively slow disillusionment with the EU is also apparent in our country. Concerning the common currency, a majority of Bulgarians are in favour of maintaining the national Leva, probably due to the fact that its exchange rate is pegged to the Euro.

Kancho Stoychev

Vice-President of Gallup International

Rather than effectively quitting the European Union, public opinion in Britain favours the government’s efforts to renegotiate preferential terms for staying inside. But it is still too early to tell the results of the forthcoming referendum.What is fateful for the destinies of the EU however is not the eventual British decision; it is the burgeoning disillusionment among European citizens, which has emerged during the past year. In this sense, during 2016 a watershed could be reached for the future of this best project in humanity’s history.Clinging to outdated policies in Brussels may produce an explosion, while the emergence of a European leader, capable to conduct the union to genuine renewal, is not in sight far. We are on the verge of a classic revolutionary situation, with the masses increasingly unwilling to tolerate old ways, and the political elites unable to lead in new ways.