Political Ms: The EU – Better in than out? Views from across Europe


With the referendum on EU membership approaching, it is natural that all eyes are on UK attitudes. But what about the other member states? The OWL has looked at some figures.

In November 2015, survey participants from across the EU, were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that their country could better face the future outside the union. The chart below shows the results for the UK compared to the average of all 28 member states.

Chart 1: Our country could better face the future outside the EU – UK vs EU28

chart 1 final

It is clear that, at the time the survey was carried out, UK respondents expressed stronger skepticism towards membership than the average European. But is the UK also the most skeptical?

In Chart 2, the blue bars show the percentage of respondents for each country who totally agreed with the statement that their country ‘could better face the future outside the EU’. The red bars show the percentage that tended to agree with the statement, and the green bars show the aggregate of totally and tended to agree.

Chart 2: Our country could better face the future outside the EU – individual member states %

chart 2

The OWL does not want to engage in speculation as to what could be the reasons for these results, but merely wants to point out the following:

In 27 of 28 states, including the UK, a majority of respondents disagrees with the statement that their country could fare better outside the EU.

To the extent that agreement with the statement can be considered an expression of ‘eurosceptisim’, the most eurosecptic EU member states are the Republic of Cypruss, the UK, Austria and Slovenia. The least euroskeptic member states are Estonia, Lithuania and The Netherlands.


Data: We have used the most recent figures from Standard Eurobarometer 84, Annexes, question QA18.5. The data is available free of charge at http://ec.europa.eu/COMMFrontOffice/PublicOpinion/

This post was written for the OWL by Dr. Mette Elise Jolly, author of The European Union and the People, Oxford University Press, 2007

Leave a thought