Britain wins in Europe. Only we don’t seem to notice

The UK government is on course to win around 90 per cent of its policy goals in Europe, despite polling showing that a majority of Britons believe the country is a loser in Europe.

The UK government is on course to win around 90 per cent of its policy goals in Europe, despite polling showing that a majority of Britons believe the country is a loser in Europe.

Two-thirds (62 per cent) of those surveyed by YouGov believed that the UK’s aims were mostly or always rejected in Europe, and two thirds (61 per cent) believed the UK had little or no influence and few friends.

YouGov focus groups also revealed that voters felt Britain was ‘insignificant’, had ‘lost its moral backbone’ and was ‘losing against the Germans and the French’ in Europe.

However in contrast to public pessimism, a new report by the pro-European pressure group British Influence has found that in 2013 Britain was successful in 18 policy areas in Europe, did well in 20 more and failed to achieve its policy objectives in just four areas.

Director of British Influence Peter Wilding blamed the perception gap on “some sort of victim syndrome with our EU membership”.

“In focus groups voters told us that Britain was ‘insignificant’ and ‘losing against the Germans and French’ in Europe. In fact the Scorecard shows that Britain has more impact on key EU decisions than the public perceives and is on track to achieve 90 per cent of its policy goals. Voters are crying out for stronger leadership from Britain in Europe,” he added.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative foreign secretary and one of the Scorecard’s authors, said:

“It is by playing the system more cleverly from the inside, rather than being tempted towards unrealistic and unworkable ruses that foster disappointment and disillusion, that we can deliver what we most desire – a powerful Britain within a reformed European Union.”

The full British Influence Scorecard report is online here

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