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Europe

Support for EU Falls in New Commission Poll

The level of support for the EU has fallen below 50 percent for the first time since 2000, a new poll published today has revealed.

Only 48 percent of the 16,000 people questioned across the current EU-15 thought that their countries' membership of the EU was "a good thing." This represents a decline of six percentage points when compared to the last survey carried out in Spring 2003. There are extremely wide variations in the figures. In Luxembourg and Ireland, 77 and 73 percent of people respectively think that the EU is a good thing. At the other end of the scale, more British people believe the EU is bad (29 percent) than good (28 percent). However, despite this, Europeans generally feel they have benefited from the EU. Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they had benefited, compared to 34 percent who had not. Again this was subject to wild swings. In Ireland - which has seen millions of euro of EU money flow into the country - 82 percent felt they had benefited compared to 8 percent who felt they had not. Again, in the UK, the result was reversed, with people saying that they had derived no benefit from the EU by 45-30. On the whole, people do not want the EU to be scrapped. Over one third (37 percent) of people said they would feel "very sorry" if the union were to be disbanded. Exactly the same number said they would be indifferent and only 15 percent said they would be "relieved." The poll - conducted by the European Commission - surveyed individuals between October and November of last year. A total of 16,000 people aged over 15 years were interviewed. (EUObsever.com)

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