Majority of EU residents support bloc, with UK score at historic high

Majority of EU residents support bloc, with UK score at historic high

The majority of European Union residents have a favourable view of the bloc, while UK support for the union is at record-high levels, a new survey of attitudes amid the coronavirus pandemic has found.

The Pew Research Centre poll also found that Britons trust German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron more than their own prime minister.

Just one in two (51 per cent) UK residents had confidence in Boris Johnson to “do the right thing” regarding world affairs, compared to 76 per cent for Ms Merkel and 64 per cent for Mr Macron. In contrast, across the eight EU countries surveyed, a median of 36 per cent had confidence in Mr Johnson.

In  a show of record high level of support for the bloc, 60 per cent of Britons had a favourable opinion of the EU, while 64 per cent said the union had done a good job of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, only 46 per cent of UK residents thought their own government had handled the pandemic well.

It is the first survey of Britons the Pew Research Centre has conducted since the UK left the bloc in January, and was carried out at a time when new coronavirus cases were relatively limited in the bloc, between early June and early August.

Favourability ratings of the union only declined in Sweden, from 72 per cent in 2019 to 66 per cent this year. In every other country, views remained steady or improved, with Germany also recording a record high level of favourability towards the institution as 73 per cent offered positive assessments.

More than half of those polled in each country before the second wave thought the EU had dealt well with the pandemic, with the lowest ranking — 51 per cent — expressed by Belgium.

The researchers founds that those who said the EU did well in its response to the pandemic were much more likely to have a positive view of the bloc than those who thought the Brussels-based institution did a poor job dealing with the coronavirus.

The survey polled residents in eight EU member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. These nations make up around 68 per cent of the EU population.

It also looked at views towards the bloc among non-EU states, with people in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea polled as well as the UK. Similarly to EU member nations, researchers found that judgements of how well the EU had done tackling Covid-19 were related to respondents’ favourability of the bloc.