Member States not expecting much EU fallout from Brexit, survey says

Written by Martin Banks on 28 February 2019 in News
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A new survey says that citizens in the remaining 27 Member States think that EU countries will not be much affected by Brexit.

Photo credit: Press Association


The survey findings, released on Wednesday, showed that a majority of 61 percent thinks that there will not be a significant change in EU countries because of Brexit.

These are some of the key results of the latest “eupinions“ survey by the think tank, Bertelsmann Stiftung, which asked the citizens of the EU27 how they view Brexit and its consequences for the EU and the UK.

While the outcome of Brexit is still uncertain, the survey suggests that EU citizens seem to have a clear position.


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The survey found that 27 percent think that EU countries will be worse off, while only 12 percent think that EU countries will be better off because of Brexit.

The Dutch and Poles are on average most pessimistic about the consequences of Brexit for EU countries.

Some 34 and 32 percent of Dutch and Polish respondents respectively think that EU countries will be worse off, and only 50 and 54 percent respectively think that the situation will remain the same.

Bertelsmann said that citizens in the EU27 are much more split when it comes to how they view the consequences of Brexit for the UK, with 31 percent of respondents thinking that there will not be a significant change for the UK, while 44 percent think that the UK will be worse off because of Brexit, and 25 per cent think the UK will be better off.

“Whereas in the UK, the tension seems to intensify with every twist and turn the British take on their way out of the European Union, Europeans on the continent seem to be surprisingly detached” Bertelsmann Stiftung

The German and Spanish respondents are most pessimistic about the consequences of Brexit for the UK, with 58 and 50 percent of German and Spanish respondents respectively thinking that the UK will be worse off because of Brexit, while only 13 and 19 percent respectively think that the UK will be better off.

The findings show that there is “quite some variation” across party supporters, especially when it comes to the perceived consequences of Brexit for the UK.

‘BETTER OFF’

Those who feel close to far-right or populist-right parties like the Rassemblement National (former Front National) in France or the Lega in Italy think that the UK will be better off because of Brexit.

Some 59 percent of those who feel close to Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National in France and 52 percent of those who feel close to Matteo Salvini’s Lega in Italy think that the UK will be better off because of Brexit, while only 10 and 13 percent respectively think that the UK would be worse off.

Bertelsmann Stiftung said, “The political drama called Brexit leaves observers in London fascinated, appalled or exhausted. Whereas in the UK, the tension seems to intensify with every twist and turn the British take on their way out of the European Union, Europeans on the continent seem to be surprisingly detached.”

“They support their country’s membership in the EU in ever greater numbers, and calmly carry on with their daily business,” it added.

ANOTHER MEANINGFUL VOTE

The results come the day after UK Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the next steps if her Brexit deal is defeated in another ‘meaningful vote’ due to be held by 12 March.

May promised that MPs will first have the opportunity to vote on a No-Deal Brexit, and if they reject No Deal, they will vote on a motion seeking approval for a “short, time-limited” extension of Article 50.

Speaking on Tuesday, May said, “The House of Commons should be clear that a short extension, not beyond the end of June, would almost certainly have to be a one-off so it would create a much sharper cliff edge in a few months’ time,” adding, “An extension cannot take No Deal off the table. The only way to do that is to revoke Article 50, which I shall not do, or agree a deal.”

Writing in the UK press, May urges Parliament to “do its duty” and vote for her Brexit deal, adding that in the discussions she had with EU leaders, she has “found a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. That engagement has already begun to bear fruit.”

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s statement, Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said, “If Brexit were to be delayed to change the backstop to the Malthouse compromise, that would be positive … If it is being delayed, which is my suspicion, as a plot to stop Brexit altogether, then I think that would be the most grievous error that politicians could commit.”

Rees-Mogg also said he would accept legal changes to the Irish backstop that would ensure it is not permanent, saying, “I would be quite happy with an appendix. The backstop is in itself an appendix. I think you can add an appendix without reopening the text.”

On Wednesday, there were reports that several members of the ERG would be willing to vote for May’s Brexit deal if she agrees not to lead the next step of negotiations on future relations.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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