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Er… support for EU up since Brexit, including in the UK? November 21, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

From the Financial Times this very day.

“The looming Brexit seems to be the best advertisement for the EU so far,” said Aart De Geus, chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation, a German think-tank, which carried out the survey. 
Across the EU as a whole, 62 per cent of those polled would vote to stay in the EU compared with 57 per cent in March, according to Bertelsmann’s polling which covered nearly 15,000 respondents. The poll was conducted in August 2016 a few weeks after the British referendum.


In Britain, support rose to 56 per cent after the Brexit vote, compared to 49 per cent before. Approval rates fell in Spain to 68 per cent, but rose in the other four big continental member states – Germany, France, Italy and Poland. 
The results come as EU leaders struggle to agree on how to respond to Brexit and to anti-EU popular sentiment in other member states, notably France, where Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right National Front, has pledged to hold an exit referendum if she wins next year’s presidential elections.

Add to that the continuing high levels of support for EU membership in this state and that it is clear that the massive shambles that is Brexit is not exactly inspiring confidence amongst citizens of states in the EU. How could it be otherwise, across a range of areas the departure of the UK from the EU is set to see the conditions of workers become even more precarious, cultural and social engagement weaken, funding and expenditures in technology and education wither on the vine – and the pre-eminence of the Tory party increase. The latest polls while showing some slippage in its vote do not, given the actual nature of the British polity suggest that Labour is very likely to win an election in the near to medium term future.

I would add a caveat to the study, one can support continued EU membership without supporting the EU, i.e. regard remaining as a lesser evil than leaving even given the nature of the enterprise.


1. simonjkyte - November 21, 2016

how does anyone know? they did not judge support for it very well on evening of 22 june


WorldbyStorm - November 21, 2016

This from wiki is interesting…

“Polls on the general principle of Britain’s membership of the European Union were carried out for a number of years prior to the referendum. Opinion polls of voters in general tended to show roughly equal proportions in favour of remaining and leaving. ”

What’s striking looking at the polling in the UK is how many polls had the two sides within a couple of percentage points at the end. There were fewer polls with Leave ahead, but that could be a ‘shy voter’ effect – there were nonetheless polls which had Leave ahead. There was, I’d agree, a sentiment that it would be a Remain, but on the day, it was remarkably close just barely outside the MOE.

I’d also wonder if the conditions in the UK can easily be mapped onto the rest of the EU (including the ROI and NI and indeed Scotland if we want to cast the net wider). The particular blend of a Tory party with a large, perhaps majority, of its reps let alone members hugely anti-EU, a massively anti-EU press, and a party to the populist right of the Tories which had significant support pushing the anti-EU line explicitly – issues around immigration, the nature of Tory rule and policies.

France has the NF which is anti-EU but as a policy and as a party that – outside of the Presidential elections is marginalised. All other parties of significance are pro-EU, Germany likewise. Italy is a curious one, but again most parties are pro-EU. Of course events may prove this to be incorrect but as it stands…


simonjkyte - November 21, 2016

Renzi will lose his vote too and will have to resign


Gewerkschaftler - November 22, 2016

Yes he most probably will.

Polls are showing a 6 point lead against the consitutional reform referendum. But polls…

The main party in Italy demanding an EU in/out referendum is 5 stars and they have been damaged severely by the experience of 5 stars in government in Rome. A Brexit-level clusterfuck plus corruption / nepotism. Sounds familiar?


WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2016

I’ve been trying to dig out 5stars policy, is it EU in\out or euro in\out? BTW agree to SJ, hence my caveat in original post


Gewerkschaftler - November 22, 2016

Good question WBS.

Actually I think it’s Euro in/out for 5*.

They don’t like the EU as it exists but are not advocating an exit yet.


2. ivorthorne - November 21, 2016

On a tangent, this is an interesting article from the NY Times:


It examines the rise of the right/far-right within Europe. It’s not inaccurate as far as I know but what a simple comparision of the charts does not reveal is the voting system in the various countries (which has considerable implications) and in the case of the UK the move to the right within supposed centre right parties like the Tories.

The point WBS makes about support for continued membership of the EU not meaning support for the EU is an important one. I think that while many of us might be quite critical of the EU, we recognise that, particularly for a small country like Ireland, we support membership on the basis that the currently available alternatives are worse and the institutions – however flawed – allow us to avoid some forms of bullying by our neighbours and give EU citizens rights to combat individual states. I think there are also those of us who might dislike the way that the EU is currently run but recognise that the same institutions could potentially be used to help forward the interests of workers across the continent if effective parliamentary presence at the national level is increased.


WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2016

Very interesting report there, IT.

And +1 re your second paragraph. That’s precisely my attitude. There’s also the issue that within the EU, almost despite itself there’s scope for extra-state and extra-parliamentary communications and linkages and effort that just aren’t there if we’re looking at a context of isolated nation states (and I agree entirely re the irony that the EU again almost despite itself can be useful for smaller states). As you say part of this is people actually using it both within and without structures and increasing their presence at both levels.


Joe - November 22, 2016

There’s a limit to that ‘usefulness’ of the EU to smaller members though. Greece comes to mind.


ivorthorne - November 22, 2016

You’re right Joe, but I think the Greece situation needs to be put in the context that the national governments were dominated by those who were looking after the interests of capital.

If the PIGS had actually formed a united front, things could have been very different. Fat chance of that with the likes of FG calling the tune in Ireland.

If you look at something like the working-time directive, it gives workers rights that they just wouldn’t have won through their parliament. When it comes to scuppering trade deals that would impact onworkers throughout, all it takes is one leftish government saying no.

I’d take Rupert Murdoch at his word when he says the reason he doesn’t like the EU is that it does not listen to him while the national government in the UK bows to his demands.


Gewerkschaftler - November 22, 2016

Agree more of less Ivor, I don’t think anyone is a ‘supporter’ of the EU in it’s current form, but we’re seeing that nationalist disintegration is empirically worse for workers.

But opposition to disintegration now comes with the caveat that unless we can change the political structures of the EU from below, a quick disintegration and a fallback to the ‘even-worse’ state of identitarian nation states is likely.

We have to make the political structures of multi-level citizenship – regional, national and super-national real and workable.


WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2016

+1 GW

joes point re Greece is well made.no one should gave illusions but nor is it sensible to fling ourselves from bad to worse.


CL - November 22, 2016

“YouGov’s figures show just 25% of the anti-authoritarian, pro-globalist group is over 60; among the under-40s the ultra-right is outnumbered two to one by liberal globalists….
At the centre of the fightback has to be a break with neoliberal economics.-Paul Mason


CL - November 22, 2016

“there is a very real chance that the rise of authoritarian populism could be the defining political phenomenon of the next decade, and not just in Europe, but across developed democracies.”


3. Jim Monaghan - November 22, 2016

Aside. I see a possibility of neo-liberal “Free Trade” being replaced by a protectionist driven trade wars. Now how would we manage outside a trading bloc like the EU. Sure we will make them buy Irish beef.


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