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Germans some of toughest Europeans on Brexit talks, survey shows

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Germans some of toughest Europeans on Brexit talks, survey shows
If Germans get their way, Westminster will have it tough in Brexit talks. Photo: DPA
14:36 CEST+02:00
A survey of European opinion on Brexit negotiations released on Friday by the research group RED C showed that Germans want a harder line from the EU towards Britain than other nationals.

A total of 80 percent of German respondents said the negotiations should focus on protecting the remaining 27 members of the EU. Just 20 percent on the other hand said that negotiators should build a new economic relationship with the UK that would give the island nation special privileges.

Generally all Europeans surveyed wanted a clear set of priorities in the talks, with 78 percent saying that the primary objective of talks should be to ensure a good future for the remaining 27 states, compared to just 22 percent who wanted to build a special economic relationship with the UK.

The French were the Europeans most willing to compromise, with 69 percent saying that the EU should put the interests of the remaining 27 states first, while 31 percent thought negotiators should focus on forging a new economic deal with the UK.

Spaniards have the least truck with finding a compromise with the islanders - 89 percent of them want negotiations to focus on the interests of the remaining 27 members, while just 11 percent think talks should be about building a special economic deal.

Britain voted by referendum to leave the EU last June, a result which precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and cast major doubts over the future direction of the European project.

Official negotiations on the terms of Brexit are set in begin in June after the UK goes to the polls in a snap election, which the hawkish Conservative party are predicted to win by a landslide.

The RED C survey shows that European governments will have the full support of their citizenries if they follow a tough path in Brexit talks, as initial signs suggest.

An overwhelming 92 percent said that protecting the 27 remaining states’ interest was a priority. Only 55 percent said that ensuring the future well-being of the UK should be considered important.

Similarly, 88 percent of respondents wanted negotiators to ensure that the UK pays any outstanding financial obligations.

A point of conflict that has emerged before negotiations have even started is the bill the UK will have to foot when it exits. A recent report in the Financial Times suggested that could be €100 billion, an amount the British government has said it will not pay.

The survey interviewed around 1,000 people chosen at random between April 28th and May 5th in each of the nine EU countries chosen.

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