A third of the "elites" want deeper integration, while another third want powers returned to member statesby Thomas Raines / July 6, 2017 / Leave a comment
Cautiously, optimism is returning to the European Union. The political mood is often a relative judgement and compared to Donald Trump’s America and Theresa May’s Britain, the EU, for so long hamstrung by multiple crises, now looks in relatively good health, as economic growth returns and populist parties struggle for electoral breakthroughs.
Brexit is a case in point. Predictions that Britain’s vote to leave would unleash forces of fragmentation seem misplaced. Rather, the UK’s decision to withdraw has led to a surprising degree of unity among other European leaders, both in the way they have recommitted to the EU, and in the approach they have taken to handing negotiations with Britain.
Europe’s leaders will hope now to move from the crisis management of the last decade to examining longer term questions about the direction of the bloc. However, a recent Chatham House survey of ten EU countries sheds light on how Europe’s elite feel about the future and, while they share broadly similar views about Brexit, the findings reveals the lack of consensus about the direction EU integration should now take.
As well as polling a representative sample of the general public, this survey sought the opinions of a sample of members of the “elite”—individuals in positions of influence at local, regional, national and European levels across four key sectors (elected politicians, the media, business and civil society). In total, 1,823 respondents (approximately 180 from each country) were surveyed through a mix of telephone, face-to-face and online interviews in the first months of 2017, as well as 10,000 members of the public.