Support for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union is at its highest level since 1991, according to a poll by Ipsos Mori.
Latest figures from the polling firm show that 56 percent of people want to stay in the EU, compared to 44 percent two years ago. Meanwhile, 36 percent said they want to leave, down from 48 percent in 2012.
However, despite the headline figure, only 14 percent of respondents said that Britain should stay in the European Union no matter what. Thirty-four percent support renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU and returning to being part of a simple economic communities with no political ties – something that would be a radical change from the UK’s current situation.
A further 29 percent want Britain’s relationship to stay as it is, thus rejecting any further integration.
These figures mean that although pro-Europeans may at first be cheered by the poll, they will still face problems as the EU moves inexorably towards closer integration. A clear majority of respondents reject further political integration, and the most popular option remains changing Britain’s relationship to looser ties.
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership, with the hope of repatriating powers over matters such as immigration, national security and economic matters. However, earlier this week the outgoing president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said that there was “no possibility” of the UK being able to overrule EU free movement rules.
He said: “There is no possibility of the UK reducing the number of immigrants from EU to the UK. It is not up for negotiation. I don’t think you can say there is a huge problem with immigration – there are 2 million British citizens in the rest of EU.
“In principle arbitrary caps seem to me in contradiction with EU laws. That is quite clear from my point of view.”