News that Switzerland has approved via referendum a cap on the number of EU migrants has been turning heads recently. Life outside the EU might not be so bad if it means greater freedom to pick and choose which rules apply. We’ll have a dedicated post on this topic soon, but in the meantime we wanted to ask people whether they think their country might be better off outside the EU. Could other countries be tempted to follow Switzerland’s example?
We’ve been covering a series of town hall meetings between citizens and members of the European Commission recently as part of a continent-wide “Debate on the Future of Europe“. The most recent of these meetings took place yesterday in that great bastion of euroscepticism, the United Kingdom. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, and David Lidington, the British Minister for Europe, answered some (admittedly quite pro-EU) questions from citizens at the Royal Institution, London.
It’s not just the UK that has seen a surge in euroscepticism over recent years, though. You can see some of the opinion poll data on growing levels of dissatisfaction within the EU in our infographic below (and you can click on the image for a higher resolution version). Whilst 57% of people said they trusted the EU before the crisis, that number had almost halved to 31% by last year. But when asked “Do you think your country would be better off outside the EU?“, there were a range of different responses, from 53% saying “Yes” in the UK to only 17% in Belgium.
Most strikingly (especially with the European Parliament elections in May almost upon us), whilst Eurosceptics only achieved 4.8% of the vote in 2009, they are predicted to take almost 30% of the vote in some countries this time round.
Do YOU think your country would be better off outside the EU? Have you lost trust in the European Union since the crisis began? And will you be voting for a eurosceptic party in May? Or do you think your country has benefited from EU membership and is stronger because of it? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.