13 October 2015

Reforming Europe far from fringe UK obsession

Open Europe Berlin and the British Chambers of Commerce in Germany today release a poll conducted by Forsa, which shows that many of the core British proposals for EU reform enjoy support across a wide spectrum of German public opinion.

The poll adds weight to the argument that Open Europe has been making for years: EU reform is not just a fringe UK obsession, but it finds considerable support in the voting public of many other EU countries, including in Germany.

Today’s findings continues a series of OE/OEB polling from 2013 which suggested that that German voters think Chancellor Merkel should try to devolve EU powers back to member states, and that the majority of (both) Britons and Germans want greater role for national parliaments in EU decision-making.

Key findings: Germans support devolving powers to member states, red card & welfare reforms

Majority support devolving powers back to member states: On the question of whether some powers should be returned from the EU to the member states, 54% said that they would support this compared to 38% who opposed it.

Over half  support different levels of integration: There is also a majority of support for the principle of a more flexible EU with differentiated levels of integration. 51% said that it should be possible for groups of member states to work closer on specific issues with similar-minded countries compared to 46% who said that all EU member states should be involved.

Over 60% support the red card: Another key objective of the renegotiation is to secure greater involvement for national parliaments over the EU law-making process, potentially via a red card which would allow a group of national parliaments to block or amend Commission proposals – almost two-thirds (64%) of Germans endorsed this proposal compared to 28% who opposed it. This includes majorities among all mainstream political parties including 60% of supporters of Merkel’s CDU/CSU parties.

Almost 70% support welfare reforms: Likewise, there is widespread support for another key tenet of Cameron’s EU reform agenda – the principle of ensuring that member states have a right to make welfare payments conditional on EU migrants having made a contribution over the past few years. This is supported by 69% of Germans compared to 26% who said that EU migrants should have these rights without any conditionality attached.

This is an important wake-up call for Chancellor Merkel, and shows that the question of EU reform ought to be high on her government’s agenda.

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth, Director, Open Europe Berlin

Open_Europe_graph_Germany EU_151013 itemprop=See the PDF reader below for an English translation of the questions and results, or click here.  To view a full breakdown of the poll in German  please click here. As related content below, Open Europe Berlin Director,  Michael Wohlgemuth, explains why Germany stands so much to loose in the event of a British-EU exit.

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