Britsih Attitudes to the European Union

I am looking for information/analysis of British attitudes to the EU.

I am interested in any sort of information, but particularly:

journalism and political commentary on both teh general public's

attitudes and parliament's views, information on how Britsh attitudes

are rgarded in other Member States, information on how the British

press covers EU issues (particularly tabloids), historical


I know this is very general. Thank you in advance for anything you

find x

2 thoughts on “Britsih Attitudes to the European Union

  1. Hi venn-ga,

    In beginning to research your question, I first came across the

    following disturbing poll result:

    “Millions of Britons are unaware that Britain is a member of the

    European Union, and one in 15 of the population believe that America

    is an EU member state, according to a largest government commissioned

    survey on British attitudes to Europe.”


    Poll Highlights Britons’ Ignorance Over Europe

    Patrick Wintour

    Thursday December 6, 2001

    The Guardian,9061,614211,00.html

    In June 2000, MORI (Market & Opinion Research International, the

    largest independently-owned market research company in the United

    Kingdom, published the results of an opinion poll conducted by

    telephone interview with 1,002 British adults aged 18 and over. The

    poll was conducted on behalf of “News of the World”. It contains 36

    questions relating to British attitudes toward Europe and changing to

    the euro economy.

    You may view the complete poll results here:

    Attitudes Toward Europe

    Another MORI poll shows that, “the British are far from convinced that

    UK membership has been a good thing. Yet, there is no consensus either

    that being part of the Union has been bad for the country.” It

    compares the British view with that of other European countries.

    This piece is based on an article prepared for the Foreign Policy

    Centre's "Winning the Euro Referendum: a guide to public opinion and

    the issues that affect it", published on 3 September 2001.

    The entire poll can be viewed here:

    An article summarizing the MORI polls, with additional commentary

    appeared in Global Britain Publications entitled, “Attitudes to the EU

    and America”. It purports that the British attitudes towards the issue

    of converting to the euro as currency can be used to gauge their

    attitudes to the EU as a whole, and tracks results of the same poll

    questions asked over a period of years. It concludes with the

    following interesting summary:

    “It seems fair to conclude from the above that a strategy consisting

    of Britain leaving the EU and linking up with NAFTA would find wide

    support amongst the British public; so would just leaving the EU.”


    Attitudes to the EU and America

    On Thursday 22 November 2001, the Independent Newspaper published an

    article by Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary entitled “Rethinking Our

    Attitudes to Sovereignity”. The following is an excerpt:

    “But quite apart from the many practical benefits which we derive from

    our membership of the EU, there is a wider point to be made here. The

    events of 11 September brought home to us all, in the most brutal way

    possible, that isolationism does not and cannot work. We cannot afford

    to ignore events anywhere in the world.”

    Further, he goes on to say:

    “Does anyone really imagine that, in the past few crucial weeks,

    Britain's influence in Washington would have been anything like as

    strong if we were not also a strong voice in the EU? Of course not. In

    the modern world, our strength as an independent nation derives from

    the strength of the alliances and partnerships we make with others.

    Indeed, this is a lesson which we learned long before we joined the

    European Union.

    “For more than 50 years, we have been a full and enthusiastic member

    of other treaty-based organisations such as NATO, which pools

    responsibility over our national defence – an area which goes right to

    the heart of our national sovereignty. We pool sovereignty in the

    United Nations, where Security Council resolutions have the force of

    international law.

    “Pooling our sovereignty in the EU is still more important, as it

    strengthens our ability to meet so many other shared challenges which

    have a real and daily impact on our national life. Being part of the

    EU does not mean that 14 other countries automatically fall into line

    behind the British view. Of course we have to negotiate, and sometimes

    we have to compromise. But there can be no doubt that in one area

    after another – trade and jobs, financial services, a cleaner

    environment – the EU gives us much greater strength to look after the

    interests of the British people.”

    The entire text of the article can be found here:

    I came across an interesting article examining what makes up the

    British national identity withinin the European Union. Comparison is

    made between the British, who would have trouble verbalizing what it

    means to be British; and the French, who would speak of cultural,

    intellectual and culinary heritage. Here is an excerpt:

    “The English are in the midst of an identity crisis. The Empire is

    gone, the Celtic nations have asserted their cultural and political

    individuality, and we are apparently being rapidly subsumed into an

    all-encompassing, monster of a European superstate who's only purpose

    seems to be – according to the Daily Mail and the Sun – to destroy all

    that it means to be British.

    “Although it is "Britishness" which is perceived to be under attack,

    the concern comes mainly from the English. Most Celts have a strong

    sense of identity and see taking as strong a role as possible in the

    EU as the best way of gaining global influence. Yet it is the opinion

    of the English as a people which, due to their demographic dominance

    of the UK, determines how far the British government can move forward

    on Europe.

    “The future of the EU and Britain's role within it is a frequent

    source of bitter debate. Many think that we should have no place in

    "Europe" and there are those who really believe that the French and

    Germans want to take over the UK by stealth. There are two major

    factors in the emergence of Europhobia: ignorance, re-enforced by the

    anti-European lies and mis-representations churned out by the

    right-wing, "patriotic" (and mostly foreign-owned) press; and

    insecurity – insecurity in what it means to be English.”


    Counterculture: God’s Own Country and the Superstate by Stuart Read

    A final article uses the incident of a British shopkeeper being

    arrested for selling his produce in pounds and ounces, instead of the

    new metric standard, is used by a tabloid as a jumping-off point to

    present their views of what is wrong with the EU.

    “It was the first time that a court in Britain, which began

    introducing pounds, ounces, miles, yards and feet nearly 800 years

    ago, had brought such a criminal case against an individual shop

    keeper. Thoburn, known as the "metric martyr" because he insisted on

    giving what he said all his customers wanted — fruit and vegetables

    sold in "old fashioned" imperial units — is being raised as a human

    rallying point by opposition Conservatives and the U.K. Independence

    Party, which condemn what they call the elimination of national

    sovereignty. The opposition view was perhaps most strongly stated

    Tuesday in a two-page headline in the Daily Mail tabloid, which

    declared: "The day selling a pound of bananas became a crime like

    burglary or rape."”

    Peter Almond

    United Press International

    April 2001

    I have tried to tackle a very broad subject and a very complex issue,

    and give you a sampling of views from opinion polls of the British

    people, newspaper and tabloid columnists and politicians. Should you

    require clarification of any of the above, please do not hesitate to




    Search criteria:

    British attitudes EU or "European Union" tabloid OR newspaper

    "European Union" OR EU "british attitude" OR "british attitudes"

    "European Union" OR EU "british attitude" OR "british attitudes" poll

    OR "opinion poll" OR "public opinion"

  2. I am pleased to know that my answer was helpful to you venn-ga. Thank

    you for the feedback and for the very nice rating.


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