Spaniards most likely to want their own EU referendum, poll shows

Emma Anderson
Emma Anderson - [email protected]
Spaniards most likely to want their own EU referendum, poll shows
An EU flag at the Royal Post Office in Madrid. Photo: AFP

A new poll shows that while most Spaniards aren't eager to follow in the UK's footsteps, they are more likely than anyone else to want their own vote on the European Union.


A poll by Pew Research Center released on Thursday examined how Europeans are feeling nearly a year after the UK narrowly voted to leave the EU.

The survey polled almost 10,000 people from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

When asked whether Spain should leave the EU, just 13 percent of Spaniards said ‘yes’. But when asked whether their country should have its own referendum on EU membership, 65 percent were in favour - the highest percentage of any country polled.

Little support for leaving EU, but many want a referendum on membership

Across the countries surveyed - excluding the UK - a median of 18 percent of respondents said they wanted to leave the Union, while 53 percent said they wanted to have their own vote.

The countries with the highest number of people ready to leave the EU were Greece and Italy, at 35 percent of their respondents in favour of either Grexit or Italexit.

Including the UK, a median of 69 percent of respondents overall said they felt Brexit would ultimately be bad for the EU. Spanish respondents on their own were more pessimistic at 78 percent saying it would not be good.

Most also said Brexit would be bad for the UK with a median of 55 percent overall, though among UK respondents, opinion was more divided: 48 percent said it would be bad, and 44 percent said it would be good.

In Spain, 70 percent said Brexit would be bad news for Britain, while just 22 percent said it would be good.

Few Europeans think Brexit will be good for UK, but Brits are divided

Other than Greece, most countries generally had favourable views of the EU, with an overall median of 63 percent who said they had a positive opinion of it. Just 33 percent of Greeks were happy with the Union, while 62 percent of Spaniards were positive.

And given how hard Spain was hit by the 2008 financial crisis, it’s perhaps no surprise that most Spaniards (52 percent) said they disapproved of the way the EU has been dealing with economic issues. On the opposite end of the spectrum, most Germans said they approved, at 61 percent.

One area where Europeans seemed to agree was on the handling of the refugee crisis. Most respondents said they disapproved of the EU’s handling of it, with 67 percent of Spaniards sharing unfavourable opinions.



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