BRITAIN is the most anti-Brussels country among Europe’s leading states, a major survey reveals today.
If a referendum was held now, the UK is the only nation where most voters who have made their minds up, 54 per cent, would vote to leave the European Union.
Even allowing for 21 per cent who are still undecided, Britain has more people who want to leave than stay in, by 43 to 36 per cent. In 13 other nations polled, the majority, 64 per cent, want to stay in.
Anti-EU sentiment is growing in some other nations, including Italy and Belgium, but the bailed-out Greeks are more likely now to see their future inside Europe than a year ago.
And 38 per cent feel more distant from Europe compared with just 13 per cent a year ago.
Last night Johnny Heald, of pollsters ORB International, said: “The Prime Minister’s negotiations with his European colleagues appear to be crucial in avoiding Brexit.”
ORB questioned 1,000 people online in England, Scotland and Wales last month as part of a poll of 14 leading EU countries.
The other EU nations polled were Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
After the UK, Italy had the next highest proportion of voters wanting to leave the EU, with 42 per cent of those with an opinion favouring exit compared with 25 per cent a year ago.
In Belgium – where most key EU institutions are – support for leaving is up to 33 from 25 per cent last year.
Excluding the don’t knows, support for membership was strongest in the EU’s newest member states, Bulgaria and Romania.
Conservative former Chancellor and leading eurosceptic Lord Lawson said yesterday that if Britons were invited to join the EU today they would say no and “therefore we would be better off out. Inertia is not an argument”.
The peer insisted there would be “no problem” for Britain’s future trade with the Continent if we left the EU. He said: “They need our market of something like £300billion.”
David Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on new terms he is negotiating by the end of 2017, although the vote could be held as early as June.
The Daily Express is crusading for a British exit.