Britain and the EU: who needs whom more?

Technology Eye | March. 13, 2017

The United Kingdom's split from the European Union looks ever more certain, but who is going to be worse off as a result? According to a recent poll, the UK thinks both sides of the channel need each other about the same amount. The Germans and French, however, don’t agree.

The poll, by YouGov, asked six European countries which of the following statements best reflected their view of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Respondents could give one of five answers:

1. The EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU.

2. The EU and the UK need each other equally.

3. Neither the EU nor the UK need each other.

4. Don’t know.

5. The UK needs the EU more than the EU needs the UK.

What did Britain think?

According to the results, one-third (33%) of Britons think that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs it. Over a quarter (28%) say that the EU and UK need each other equally. Meanwhile, only 17% of the British population think that Britain needs the EU more. Only 8% think that the two don’t need each other at all.

Given that the majority of British people believe that they are in either a stronger or an equal position to the EU, they may expect politicians to negotiate the terms of Brexit from a position of strength. But not many other countries would agree with them: Germany and France, for instance, the two largest members of the EU, see the situation differently.

What does the EU think?

Over one-third (37%) of Germans think that the UK needs the EU more. A quarter of French, Danish, Finnish and Swedish people agree.

Correspondingly, just 9% of Germans and 12% of French feel that the EU needs the UK more.

One in five French (21%) take a less partisan view, feeling that the two countries don't need each other.

Are the EU and UK equal?

This chart shows that the majority of people in most countries see the UK as less powerful than the EU. Only Norway agrees with Britain's view of itself, that it's the EU's equal at the very least.

The triggering of Article 50 will begin a process of negotiation that has to be agreed by the 27 national parliaments of the EU. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May aims to fire the starting gun in March 2017.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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