The French are keener on Britain leaving the EU than any other nationality in the bloc, a study has found.
More than 40 per cent of French respondents to a survey thought the UK should leave the EU, some three months ahead of the June referendum.
The research also showed many people in France also support having their own in/out referendum.
The majority of other EU countries show overwhelming support for the UK continuing its 40-year alliance.
But while 56 per cent of French people thought Britain should remain in the EU, 44 per cent wanted it to withdraw from the political and economic bloc, according to a the University of Edinburgh survey.
The figures were noticeably lower than in other countries such as in Germany, where 73 per cent wanted the UK to remain, Ireland, where 79 per cent wanted them to, and Sweden (67 per cent).
The survey asked respondents a question phrased identically to that which will be posed to Britons on June 23: "Should Britain remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"
And while Germany and Ireland in particular thought the UK's economic prospects and international voice would be weakened by a vote to "Leave", France did not.
"In [...] France, it is remarkable that more people think the UK economy would do better outside of the EU than there are people who think it would do worse if the UK remains a member of the EU, than there are people who think it would do worse if the UK remains a member of the EU," said the authors of the study.
What has the EU ever done for us?
What has the EU ever done for us?
1/7 1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe
As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.
2/7 2. It sustains millions of jobs
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, suggested 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.
3/7 3. Your holiday is much easier - and safer
Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.
4/7 4. It means you're less likely to get ripped off
Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.
5/7 5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.
6/7 6. Our businesses depend on it
According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.
7/7 7. We have greater influence
Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.
A total of 30 per cent of respondents thought Britain's economy and, separately, its voice, would be "a lot or a little better" by withdrawing.
However, of those French people who think the British economy would suffer by leaving the EU, a third of those still thought the UK should leave - showing they think it should suffer the economic consequences anyway.
A laissez-faire attitude towards the political or economic fall-out of leaving the bloc after 40 years might also explain why many of the French themselves are in support of leaving.
About 53 per cent of French respondents said their nation should have a vote - against 29 per cent who did not want a referendum and 18 per cent who did not know.
Given the opportunity to vote, French opinion divided between 44 per cent saying they would stay and 33 per cent saying they would leave, with the rest unsure.
The figures appear to show that a possible referendum in France would be not dissimilar to the race in the UK, where latest polls show a narrow lead for the "In" camp, according to The Week.