Philip Sime

Frexit and Italexit? Support for the EU dwindles in France and Italy

Frexit and Italexit? Support for the EU dwindles in France and Italy
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The Bicycle: Towards a Global History

Paul Smethurst

Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 194, £

Various freak political events—the unexpected Tory election victory, the rise of Ukip—have conspired to allow Britain to hold its referendum on the EU this week. But if the rest of Europe were asked, what would they say? The Berlin-based Bertelsmann Foundation commissioned a study of 11,000 people in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland to find out their attitudes towards Brexit and to the EU.

Just 41 per cent of French and 54 per cent of Germans want us to stay. The Spanish are most keen for Britain to Remain, with 64 per cent opposing Brexit, followed by Poland with 61 per cent.

But the survey also revealed that French and Italian referendums on EU membership would lead to very slim majorities in favour of remaining: 52 per cent and 54 per cent respectively are in favour of their country staying in.

A few weeks ago, a poll suggested that Sweden would follow Britain out of the EU. With the UK opinion polls in the balance, Jean-Claude Juncker will perhaps be wishing he had given David Cameron something resembling a decent deal. If Britain leaves, there really is no telling what would happen next.