UK still feels European solidarity, GCU research finds

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:04:00 BST

UK citizens are still largely positive about the European Union (EU) – despite the Brexit decision.

This is one of the latest findings from research conducted jointly by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Sheffield.

TransSOL (European paths to transnational solidarity at times of crisis) is a three-year EU-funded €2.5m research project, led by Germany’s University of Siegen, which is presenting the findings of a representative survey among a total of 16,000 citizens of eight European countries ­− France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Italy, the UK, Poland and Switzerland. 

The participating research team at GCU is led by Professor Simone Baglioni from the University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health.

Key findings of the survey show − surprisingly given the Brexit vote − that more UK people than the EU average think, in general, the country’s membership of the EU has been a good thing (40.3% against an average of 37.8%), even though they are less likely to say the UK has benefited from being an EU member than average (43.7% against an average of almost 50%).

Other findings show that people in the UK, despite voting to leave the EU, remain similar to other Europeans in outlook when it comes to several important issues, with just over two thirds of the UK being in favour of redistributive financial policies and more than half supporting EU development assistance – in both cases close to the European average. 

On the question of membership of the EU, little difference was found from the position of the UK’s 2016 referendum, with 44.3% of Brits indicating they would definitely vote to remain against 45.2% who would definitely vote to leave.

When it came to Europeans and the UK’s membership of the EU, the survey found that European citizens are almost as divided as their UK counterparts, with an average of 41.1% saying the UK should remain a member, against 41.7% saying it should leave.

However, this varied quite substantially per country, with 60% of Polish respondents and 52% of Germans saying they want the UK to remain, against 52% of Greeks and 47% of French respondents who favoured the UK leaving.

Professor Baglioni said: “The TransSOL survey reveals that, despite Brexit, people living in the UK remain attached to their country’s history of EU membership; but it also shows the level of attachment other European citizens have for the UK as a key component of the EU political community.” 

A specialised polling company (INFO GmbH) carried out the survey and the same questionnaire was administered in the relevant languages to approximately 2,000 respondents in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece Italy, Poland, Switzerland and the UK (to a total of 16,000 respondents) in November and December 2016. 

Read the full report at http://transsol.eu/outputs/reports/


TransSOLProfessor Simone Baglioni