Europeans overwhelmingly want Britain to stay in the EU, continent-wide poll finds

The French and Austrians are the most likely to want Britain to leave, however

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Indy Politics

The vast majority of European Union citizens want Britain to stay in the EU, a major new poll has found. 

The survey of 28,720 people in the EU’s 28 countries found that 60 per cent of people want the UK to stay in the EU – compared to just 10 per cent who want it to leave.

A further 30 per cent of people polled across Europe told pollsters it did not matter either way to them whether Britain left or stayed.

The poll, conducted by Lord Ashcroft and reported by The Sun newspaper, found that of major EU countries France and Austria were the most likely to support Britain leaving.

Still, French people supported the UK remaining by 50 per cent to 18 per cent and Austrians by 41 per cent to 18 per cent.

Luxembourg and Cyprus also tended to be disproportionately supportive of Brexit.

The Maltese were the most pro- Britain remaining in the EU – by 76 per cent to six per cent.

Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Poland were also very strongly in favour of Britain staying in the bloc.

The same poll however found strong appetite in Britain itself for leaving – with 50 per cent support for staying and 40 per cent for leaving.

The poll comes amid a shrinking lead for the “remain” campaign in the polls after a public rejection of David Cameron’s EU reform deal.

Britain will hold a referendum on whether to leave the European Union before the end of 2017 – though the plebiscite is now widely expected in June of this year.

The Conservative manifesto pledged a renegotiation of the terms of membership of the EU, including rules on immigration and benefits.

The PM is locked in crunch talks in Brussels where he will have to get the 28 EU heads of government to agree to a draft package, which was drawn up by European Council president Donald Tusk.

Mr Cameron faces several hurdles – including significant opposition from eastern European countries like Poland whose citizens could lose out under the plan.