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    A significant share of people in European countries support the idea of holding a referendum on leaving the EU, according to the latest survey conducted exclusively for Sputnik by the French polling firm i-fop. British political analyst Robert Oulds, explained to Radio Sputnik what turns people off about EU integration.

    The results of the recent survey conducted by the French opinion and marketing research company i-fop exclusively for Sputnik reveal that the idea of conducting a referendum on exiting the European Union has become more popular in EU countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain ever since the Brexit vote.

    The results show that more than half of Italians, or 53 percent, said they want to hold a Brexit-like referendum. This is a jump of seven percent over a similar poll in July.

    How many Europeans support holding a referendum on leaving the EU?
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    How many Europeans support holding a referendum on leaving the EU?

    Meanwhile, 47 percent of French and 43 percent of Germans supported the idea of having a vote on the issue.

    At the same time, while most of Spanish and Polish respondents opposed the suggestion, the results showcased a five percent increase in the number of supporters of the referendum on leaving the EU, to 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

    Commenting on the results of the survey, political analyst Robert Oulds, Director of the British Bruges Group think-tank explained to Radio Sputnik why so many people across Europe and the European Union do not like or trust the EU.

    "People still see themselves as being citizens of their nation's state rather than of this artificially created European Union. Actually, many people want their country back. And it is not a surprise," he told Sputnik.

    He further recalled how back in 1992, France, a country at the very heart of the EU, voted in a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty (the Treaty on European Union or TEU undertaken to integrate Europe).

    It was approved by only 51% of the voters, a very narrow percentage of supporters. There was a great deal of skepticism there, he said.

    When they had a referendum on the EU constitution in 2005, he recalled, to decide whether France should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union, the result was a victory for the "No" campaign, with 55% of voters rejecting the treaty on a turnout of 69%.

    "Being against the EU is something that is engrained in many, many people and the number of such people is growing across the continent," he therefore said.

    In terms of Italy, he explained, it ought to be an economy doing very well for itself.

    The Italian people are very creative, very industrious, he said. Northern Italy would be an absolute leading manufacturing center in Europe. Instead it is falling behind.

    "Because of the EU's single currency, because of the euro and the austerity policies designed to underpin it, their economy is failing. It is actually really hurting the Italian people. They are absolutely suffering now," he told Sputnik.

    The Italian banking system is in crisis as the euro is the real cause of the problem, he said. People know what is being done to protect the political project of the euro, but it is hurting ordinary people, he said.

    "In Spain, it is exactly the same story: there is so much unemployment, they have suffered so much because of the euro," he said.

    With regards to Poland, he explained that Polish people are proud of their country and they don't want to be run by the European Union. Besides, they are very opposed to the "open door" policy of Angela Merkel, which has brought many migrants from Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle Eastern countries to their territory.

    "This is what we have always warned about since as early as 1990s: people in the UK have been warning that the "one-size-fits-all" policy does not work. It will ultimately lead to the break-up of the EU because it is pushing people too far. It is very divisive and is taking democracies away from people, pushing on policies that won't fit," he said.

    He further explained that it might fit the interests of those who have the ability to lobby in Brussels for big businesses or well-funded campaigning groups, those who support the EU integration for their own end. However it does not support ordinary working people.
    This leads to extremism: people have their democracies taken away from them, their governments taken away. They are left with very few options but to turn to extremist parties, whether it is on the left or on the right because the center seems to have failed. The center is pushing the same old policies, he said.

    People, in turn, want change but they are not going to get it from the traditional political parties because the parties are unable or unwilling to give change, just following what the EU wants.

    "The EU was meant to be a peace project and bring harmony but it is actually creating more division because people are being quite simply pushed too far," he told Sputnik.

    "Their answer to any problem they face, be it the problem of the euro they have created, or the economic problems or the political problems, they have one answer: more EU integration. Instead of thinking probably what we've been doing has been detrimental to the people that we govern, not creating the results we have expected, harming the economy," Robert Oulds said.

    However the only answer remains: more integration.

    "They are forging ahead, heading on regardless. And when people protest, vote against the EU in a referendum in countries on the continent, they only say: ok, we have to explain better, people don't understand, we'll keep pushing for more integration. And everything will be ok," he said.

    However this is a dangerous and, in fact, a failed approach, he said. It is ideological and even dogmatic.

    "If they are not going to change, we will create change ourselves," he warned.

    "We've done that in Britain, we've forced a referendum and we've won that referendum. And we've created the change against what the political class wanted," he finally stated.


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