Backstein-Häuserwand in einer Straße in London. Auf der Wand klebt ein weißes Plakat mit der Aufschrift "Polling Station" und "Way in" sowie einem Pfeil nach rechts.

Brexit referendum: Majority of EU citizens wants the United Kingdom to stay

On June 23 more than 46 million Britons vote about remaining in or leaving the EU. The outcome of the referendum affects the whole European Union. Our Europe-wide survey shows: The majority of the EU citizens refuses a Brexit and wants the United Kingdom to stay in the European community.

"Please stay!": For EU citizens outside of the United Kingdom, a Brexit is not an option. If it happens, however, few fear specific consequences for their country. This is shown by a new survey from our "eupinions"-series, an EU-wide, representative opinion poll.

54 percent of EU citizens want the UK to remain in the EU. But the support varies from country to country. While Spain and Poland are the countries most heavily in favour of the UK remaining (64 and 61 percent), only a slight majority of citizens in Italy and Germany are supporting that (55 and 54 percent). It is the French, who can most clearly envisage an EU without their British neighbors: Here only 41 percent want the British to stay.

Part of the interviewees: Brexit could have negative effects on the economy and global role of the EU

When it comes to the consequences of a Brexit for the EU and its member states, there is a lot of uncertainty among EU citizens. Although they fear that the European Union would be weakened, they do not foresee any negative consequences for their own countries. 45 percent expect the position of the EU to be worsened by the UK leaving the European Union. However, an equal proportion of 45 percent said that they did not believe anything would change. In terms of the changes that the participants could foresee, economic ones were at the forefront. 45 percent believe that a Brexit would economically weaken the EU, while around 26 percent fear that the EU would suffer a loss of power without the United Kingdom.

However, a clearer picture emerges when participants are questioned about consequences for their own countries. Two thirds of EU citizens outside the United Kingdom do not expect a Brexit to have an impact on their country. This mood is also reflected in the larger member states Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain (63 to 71 percent).

"Even though many citizens are more preoccupied with their everyday concerns than they are with the results from London, all Europeans would lose out if the United Kingdom leaves."

Aart De Geus, Chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board

In an own referendum a majority of the interviewees would vote in favor for the EU membership

Although approval for the EU has shrunk in certain countries, the majority of Europeans believe that the EU needs more economic and political integration in the future. 60 percent see it that way. When participants were asked which way they would vote in a potential own EU referendum, supporters of the EU outweighed its opponents everywhere: In Spain, Poland and Germany it is very clear (74, 66 and 62 percent), In contrast in France and Italy EU critics only 54 and 52 percent would vote in favor of the EU membership.

"The desire for more integration shows that citizens still believe in the European project. Only a unified Europe is attractive in the long-term and can survive globally. A Brexit would therefore be a bad sign for all EU citizens."

Aart De Geus, Chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board

Please find the complete survey here.

Our overview lists our current research and analysis regarding the Brexit referendum.