Swedes' love for EU grows stronger after Brexit vote

The Local Sweden
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Swedes' love for EU grows stronger after Brexit vote
How do Swedes feel about the EU? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedes' attitude towards the EU has warmed significantly after Britain's Brexit vote to leave the union, according to a new survey.


A poll by Pew Research Center released last week examined how Europeans are feeling as Brexit talks get under way nearly a year after the UK narrowly voted to leave the EU.

The survey polled almost 10,000 people from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

When asked how they viewed the union, the majority of Swedes (65 percent) said they held a favourable view rather than an unfavourable, a sharp increase since last June when 54 percent told the Pew poll they had a favourable view of the European institution.

Sweden joined the EU in 1995 after a referendum in which 52.3 voted yes to membership. When asked by Pew pollsters whether Sweden should leave the EU, 22 percent said yes, and when asked whether their country should have another vote on membership, 53 percent said they would support such a vote.

READ ALSO: Spaniards most likely to want their own EU vote

The survey results suggest that those who were not old enough to vote in the first referendum are the most likely to be in favour of retaining their membership of the union. A total of 69 percent of those aged 18-29 said they held a favourable view of the EU, compared to 62 percent of those older than 50.

People who described themselves as left or right on the political spectrum were less likely to support the EU (59 percent of left-leaning respondents held a favourable view, compared to 64 percent of right-leaning), while 71 percent of those who described their views as moderate backed the EU in the Pew poll.

Britain is one of Sweden's closest partners in the EU, and 86 percent said they think the UK leaving is a bad thing for the union (although that's down from 89 percent last year). Only 68 percent of Swedish respondents thought Brexit will be a bad thing for the UK.

READ ALSO: Why Britain's best friend in the EU is fretting about Brexit

Swedes were positive about the future in general, with 84 percent telling pollsters they believed the current economic situation in their country is good – compared to for example 87 percent of Dutch people, 51 percent of Brits and only two percent of Greeks.

However, Swedes displayed strong disapproval with how the union has handled the most pressing issue in recent times: the refugee issue. But they were less disapproving than a year ago, with 78 percent saying they disapproved of the EU's way of handling the situation, compared to 88 percent in last year's survey.


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