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What do Europeans think of the UK's 'Brexit' referendum?

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What do Europeans think of the UK's 'Brexit' referendum?

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As the United Kingdom prepares to go to the polls to vote on June 23 on whether to remain in the European Union or leave, several opinion polls have suggested that Europeans are against Brexit – but that they are increasingly sceptical towards the EU.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Europeans believe that a British vote to leave the EU in next week’s referendum would be bad for the European Union.

The survey finds that euroscepticism is on the rise across Europe – and that the EU is again experiencing a sharp dip in support among its largest member states.

A separate TNS survey, conducted in the UK and nine other EU member states, also found that support for Britain’s continued EU membership remained high.

Here is a selection of views on the British vote from other European countries – both inside and outside the EU – gathered by the Associated Press.

The TNS survey suggests nearly four out of five people in Germany want the UK to remain in the bloc – but half think a Brexit would not affect the EU’s economy.

Bernd Leitenberger, 48, Frankfurt:
“I’m not in support of a Brexit. I think it would be better if the UK remains in the EU.”

Andreas Sasse, 57, Potsdam:
“If the British think that it is in their favour to leave the European Union then they have to take that road.”

Despite widespread euroscepticism in Austria, surveys have found a stable majority of around 70 percent of Austrians in favour of EU membership.

Isolde Wetzer, Vienna:
“I would advise the British to stay. Otherwise all the work that has been done during the past decade – well actually for decades – will have been for nothing.”

Mojca Gaetz, Vienna:
“I think they should better stay in the EU, because I think the EU is very sensitive at the moment, it has big problems. This is also about solidarity. I think whether they stay or not plays a decisive role. In my opinion the future doesn’t look very positive. I have the feeling that the European Union is going to fall apart anyway at some point.”

Norway has often been mentioned in the UK referendum campaign as a possible future model: outside the EU, but in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Tore Vaeret, 53 year-old portfolio manager, Oslo:
“I don’t think it will make that big a difference because being the second biggest economy of Europe, the European Union will have to integrate the UK anyway.”

Thomas Svendsen, 25-year-old teacher, Oslo:
“I feel a bit sad about it. I think that Britain should stay, both for its own sake, but also for the sake of preserving the union.”

Fewer people in Italy than other nationals surveyed think a Brexit would hurt the EU – although a clear majority still agree with the suggestion. The country remains relatively pro-European, according to Pew.

Walter Simonato, Rome resident:
“It’s a choice that belongs to each population, each country, I mean we are in a democracy. However, this (Brexit) will cause troubles to everyone remaining in the European Union and that makes sense because we’ll lose a pretty important piece (of the EU).”

Antonietta Fornasiero, Rome:
“Certainly they (the Brits) are very convinced of their chances (to do well without the EU) and therefore in my opinion they will exit, but then there is the question of the economy. After all, there are a lot of countries in the rest of Europe so we will make it, while their economy could be affected a lot.”

Salvatore Feriani, Rome:
“Why do they have to be under Germany when actually their economy could be leading Europe and make them grow as a country, as a nation? My opinion is that if you are in Europe you have to be under Germany so, it is not useful being part of it. Besides, we should also exit.”

Franco Pavoncello, Professor of Political Science, President of John Cabot University, Rome:
“Italians are starting to look at this with quite some worry, they are perplexed by the possibility of Britain moving out, there is always been an affinity between Italy and Britain also in terms of European discussions and I think there is a lot of concern also for what could happen to the euro, what could happen to the future of the union if Britain were to move out.”

The Pew Research Centre survey finds that Greece has the lowest favourable opinion of the European Union, with only 27 percent of views approving of the institution.

Alexandros Tzeferakos, 58-year-old doctor, Athens:
“Yes it (the referendum) is of concern to us (Greeks). But it is foremost a European problem and an internal matter for the British which, as people are smart, they are capable and are well informed about all European affairs and I think they have not only the knowledge but also the capability to judge what was beneficial and what was not beneficial from Europe. But for the rest of us Europeans the presence of Britain (in the EU) is a strong pylon of support to European construction.”

Romania joined the EU in 2007 but its citizens gained the right to work without restrictions across the European Union in 2014.

Transitional controls were imposed by some member states on nationals of the two poorest countries in the bloc, Romania and Bulgaria, limiting their rights to work and claim benefits for the first seven years of their membership in the EU.

Toma, 66 year-old pensioner from Galati, Romania:
“I’d say this will not be a good thing. I mean this would affect all the other countries in the Union. Both financially and regarding jobs… Because there are many Romanian citizens that work in Great Britain and of course their income that would have been sent to our country would have to suffer.”

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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