LONDON (Reuters) – Voters in Germany, France, Sweden and Finland think Britain should not be given a generous deal when it tries to renegotiate its ties with the European Union, an opinion poll published on Friday showed.
Germans and the French were most opposed to helping Britain out: 53 percent of respondents in both countries said it should not expect any favours compared with 27 percent who said the EU should offer Britain a generous deal, polling firm YouGov said.
Furthermore, nearly half of voters in the two EU heavyweight countries said they would support a free trade deal with Britain only if Britain agreed to continue to allow EU citizens to live and work in the country.
Opposition to the EU’s free movement of workers principle was one of the main campaign messages of those who wanted Britain to leave the bloc, a decision British voters backed in a referendum on June 23.
Britain has yet to notify the EU formally of its plan to leave, a step which would kick off a period of up to two years for its exit to be completed.
The front-runner to become Britain’s next prime minister, interior minister Theresa May, has said she wants to hold informal talks with the EU about the outlines of a deal before launching the two-year exit period.
Of five continental EU countries covered by YouGov’s poll, only voters in Denmark favoured offering Britain a generous deal, the polling firm said.
YouGov interviewed 2,045 people in Germany, 1,008 people in France and around 1,000 people in each of Sweden, Finland and Denmark between June 30 and July 5.