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Symbial / Opinea Exclusive Research

Survey conducted online among a representative sample of 1021 French people in October 2018.


What do the French want in Europe?

With less than a year to go before the European elections, the political balance in the European area is shifting and diverging more and more.

Elected representatives from all sides speak on behalf of the population without really giving them a voice, and this survey gives it back to them.

Why this survey? We wanted to know:

  • Is the debate really so opposed between “progressives” and “populists” in France on the subject of Europe?
  • What are the priorities to be addressed in Europe?


The results of the survey


1. What kind of Europe would you like to have?

The preferred European geometry of the French oscillates between the status quo at 28, with the British, and a return to the origins, with 6 countries:

  • “As at present, with the United Kingdom, i.e. 28 countries” –> 39%
  • “Only with the 6 countries of origin (Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)” –> 37%
  • “With 27 countries, so without the UK” –> 14%
  • “With the integration of new countries (Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Albania, Macedonia)” –> 6%
  • “With the integration of Russia” –> 5%

Further enlargements would not correspond to the wishes of the French

It is understandable that the priority for our citizens is to make Europe work before enlarging it again.

2. What do you think Europe needs to do?


The French clearly put forward protective measures to be installed at European level: for currency, borders, popular democracy, ecology and trade.

3. Which issues are most important for Europe to address at the moment?


The French are asking Europe to deal with the burning and urgent issues of our time: :


What should we think of this snapshot of French opinion?

It is clear that this time the major civilisational issues will be at stake in the European elections, which in the past have often only served to evaluate national political forces between more crucial elections.

First surprise, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union is disliked by 39% of the French, only 14% approve.

The beginning of disintegration therefore seems harmful to the French.

The question of the Euro is no longer central to the debate, with only 15% of French people wanting it to be abandoned.

Europe’s role must now clearly be to ensure the protection of its citizens, monetarily, geographically, democratically, ecologically and commercially.

The objective of the federal Europe of some is very far from the concerns of the French (only 12% want it).

It is therefore another Europe that the French want, not the abandonment of Europe.

Indeed, one wonders whether Brexit would have taken place if this other Europe had been implemented since the last constitutional treaties.

Europe can still show its historical interest in the face of the great challenges that lie ahead: Islamic terrorism, global warming, migratory crises, French unemployment.

The next elections will probably be played out on these simple but crucial issues, far from the Manichean debates of progressives versus populists…