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Majority of Europeans fear EU could collapse: new poll

Majority of Europeans fear EU could collapse: new poll
Copyright REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Copyright REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
By Lauren Chadwick
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A majority of EU voters fear that the bloc's end is a "realistic possibility", a new poll has found.


A majority of Europeans believe that the EU could collapse in the next 10 to 20 years, according to a new poll published Thursday.

The survey painted a bleak picture of a Europe just one week before Europeans head to the polls to for the European Parliament elections.

Commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and based on YouGov polling in 14 EU member states, it revealed that several Europeans, especially young voters, believed that conflict between EU states was possible.

One-third of voters in France and Poland and over a quarter of voters in Germany said they believed that war could break out between member states.

In five key states, large proportions of those planning to either abstain or vote for anti-European parties believed war is possible in the EU. As many as 46% of Rassemblement National (National Rally) voters in France and 41% of Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) voters in Germany believed that war could break out in the EU.

Voters who were most fearful of conflict between EU member states were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Despite this, two-thirds of Europeans said they have positive feelings towards the bloc, the highest number recorded in over 25 years.

"Support for EU membership is at the highest level since 1983 — and yet a majority of voters fear the EU might collapse," said co-author and ECFR founding director Mark Leonard.

A majority of participants in 11 out of 14 countries said they thought it was realistic that the EU could fall apart in 10 to 20 years.

The survey also found that economic anxiety was high amongst Europeans. People were worried about issues such as housing and unemployment.

Europeans also cared about a variety of issues, with the poll showing that May's election would not be a referendum on any single issue.

Indeed, many Europeans had not yet decided how they were voting.

"There are no fewer than 97 million of these confused and undecided voters," the report said.

For pro-European parties the challenge was to "reconnect with voters" who believe in the European project but "feel that the system is broken," said Susi Dennison, Director of the European Power programme at ECFR.

"Political parties need to show that they recognise the deep rift between voters and parties and offer a vision of a European future that makes the silent majority feel it is worth coming out to vote at the end of May."

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