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Most Germans oppose 'Brexit'

Carla Bleiker
April 14, 2016

The majority of Germans want Great Britain to stay in the EU, according to an exclusive DW survey conducted by polling institute Infratest Dimap. Germans are not so sure how Britons will actually decide, though.

EU and British flags in a row. (Photo: Getty Images/C. Furlong)
Image: Getty Images/C. Furlong

For the representative DW poll, researchers spoke with more than 1,000 Germans aged 18 and up. Seventy-eight percent of them said they wanted Great Britain to remain a member of the European Union. Only 13 percent of those asked said they were in favor of a "Brexit," a portmanteau of the words Britain and Exit.

Among young people, the difference was even more pronounced. Eighty-three percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 34 said they were in favor of Great Britain remaining an EU-member. Only 10 percent of young participants said the country should leave.

Infographic: Should Britain stay in the EU? (Source: DW)

"I believe that a majority of the German population want to prevent a disintegration of the European Union," Michael Kunert, director of Infratest Dimap, told DW. "That's why there is so much support for Great Britain remaining in the EU."

Whether Great Britain stays in the EU will be decided in a referendum on June 23. British Prime Minister David Cameron is encouraging his citizens to vote for remaining in the Union and said he was campaigning with his "heart and soul." Currently, those who agree with him are in the lead - barely. But Cameron's popularity numbers are falling. According to recent polls, only 21 percent of Brits still view him favorably.

Majority says Brexit would make no difference

In Germany, predictions on the outcome of the referendum are split. Not even half of all participants in DW's poll believe that Great Britain's citizens will vote for their country to stay in the EU. Thirty-eight percent of Germans asked predicted that Brits would vote for a "Brexit" on June 23.

Infographic: How do you think Brits will vote? (Source: DW)

When it comes to economic consequences for the EU, more than half of the Germans believed that the Union would be neither better off financially nor worse if Great Britain left. Fifty-three percent said a "Brexit" wouldn't make a difference. Thirty-six percent said the EU would be worse off and only 2 percent believed the EU would benefit if Great Britain left.

Almost three quarters - 72 percent - of self-employed participants in the DW poll said a Brexit would make no difference for the EU financially. None of them believe the Union could benefit from Great Britain leaving.

Infografik infratest dimap Brexit 03 englisch

Can Britain-EU deal convince Brits to stay?

Cameron has fought for exceptions and special treatment for Great Britain to sweeten the deal of staying in the EU and make it more appealing to British citizens. The new Britain-EU deal includes an "emergency brake" on migrants' benefits when there are high levels of migration. EU treaties will be amended to specifically state that the requirement to seek ever-closer union doesn't apply to the United Kingdom, meaning Britain can't be forced to integrate politically.

"Brexit" supporters are still not convinced. The anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) has called for Great Britain to leave the Union for a long time. In preparation for the referendum, they have started the campaign Leave.EU. Outspoken UKIP leader Nigel Farage is rallying people to vote for leaving the Union in the upcoming referendum.

"The 23rd is our golden opportunity, let the battle be joined."

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