Theresa May’s plans face opposition from European voters
In total 78 per cent of people polled in nine key EU states said that protecting the interests of the 27 remaining members must come ahead of giving the UK a fair trading agreement.
But the strength of feeling against Britain varies significantly from country to country, and the results indicate Theresa May could find an unexpected ally in the form of France.
Surprisingly, French people are the least committed to ensuring the continued unity of the Brussels bloc and more inclined towards handing “special privileges” to the UK.
The British position also attracts stronger support in eurosceptic Sweden, near neighbour Ireland and old ally the Netherlands than in any of the club’s other member states.
The survey shows that the most sympathetic nation towards Britain is actually France
In contrast the nation most keen to punish Britons is Spain, where just 11 per cent of people want to prioritise future economic relations despite its heavy reliance on UK tourism.
And in all of the nine states at least eight in 10 voters believe that the UK should be forced to stump up for a Brexit bill, rumoured to be set at around £50bn.
Most EU citizens wants Britain to settle up with a so-called Brexit bill
The results, published today, are chronicled in a wide-ranging poll carried out by the firm Red C on behalf of the powerful centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament.
They demonstrate how European voters are in no mood to compromise on future relations with Britain if doing so goes against the interests of the other 27 countries still in the EU.
The survey was carried out for the centre-right EPP grouping
However, the question is ambiguous and it is possible that many EU citizens who answered it envisage close trading ties with Britain as part of a stronger future for the rest of the bloc.
People were not asked, for example, whether they would support a Brexit position pushed by Brussels which kept the EU27 together politically but caused severe economic difficulties for their own country.
It shows the uphill task Theresa May faces in negotiating Brexit
Our priority in the negotiations with the UK on Brexit is to defend the interests of EU citizens
Of 9,000 people in nine member states asked what their priorities for the upcoming talks are:
• 92 per cent want to protect the future economies of the remaining EU Member States
• 91 per cent want to enhance the financial markets in the remaining EU27 Member States in order to ensure financial stablity
• 89 per cent want to focus on the longer term interests of the remaining EU27 states, rather than on short-term economic gains
• 88 per cent to ensure that the UK pays any outstanding financial obligations to the EU
• 87 per cent want to ensure that there is no introduction of second…