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EU citizens fear Brexit more than the Brits: survey

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European citizens are more concerned about a so-called Brexit than the British people themselves, said a survey published on Wednesday, two months before Britain votes on whether to leave the European Union.

[PARIS] European citizens are more concerned about a so-called Brexit than the British people themselves, said a survey published on Wednesday, two months before Britain votes on whether to leave the European Union.

The survey of five European countries by TNS found 78 per cent of Germans, more than two-thirds of Spaniards and almost six out of 10 French wanted Britain to stay in the EU.

That far outstripped the 38 per cent of Britons who backed staying in the union, only slightly more than the 34 per cent who want to leave, according to TNS. Some 28 per cent were still undecided.

The question will be put to a referendum on June 23, when the British public will vote on whether to stay part of the 28 member European Union or strike out alone.

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The issue has split the British government, with Prime Minister David Cameron facing viscious opposition from senior figures in his own party such as Justice Secretary Michael Gove and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Brits currently expect the 'In' camp to win it - 40 per cent expect Britain to stay in the EU, according to Wednesday's survey, compared to 26 per cent who expect voters to back leaving.

Their European counterparts were more optimistic, with 47 per cent of Germans, 48 per cent of Spaniards and 44 per cent of Poles predicting Britain will avoid an exit.

Only in France did more people expect Britain to go than not, with 52 per cent predicting a Brexit and 48 per cent saying the referendum will back staying.

Asked about the consequences of of leaving, only a tenth of Brits said the EU's economy would improve while 38 per cent it would deteriorate and 21 per cent said nothing would change.

Their continental counterparts were less hopeful, however. Two-thirds of Germans, 43 per cent of Spaniards, 39 per cent of Poles and 33 per cent of French predicted a Brexit would hurt the EU's economy.

The survey, carried out by TNS between April 4-14 simultaneously in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Britain, was published in French media on Wednesday.

AFP

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