NEWS

Brexit Damages UK's Reputation In EU - But Wider World Admires Quitting Bloc

British Council-commissioned survey finds Commonwealth nations see Brexit positively.

15/12/2016 00:02 | Updated 15 December 2016
Paul Hackett / Reuters

The Brexit vote appears to have damaged the UK’s reputation among some European Union countries - though people in Commonwealth countries appear to back quitting the bloc, research has found.

A British Council-commissioned survey of 40,000 people living in G20 countries suggests the seismic vote is viewed differently depending where people live.

The poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI and to be released in full next year, detected negative shifts in sentiment in France, Germany and Italy.

But people in Australia, Canada, South Africa and India had a more positive view of the impact of the vote.

When questioned on ‘overall attractiveness’, 36 per cent of people in EU countries said Brexit had a negative impact - compared to 17 per cent who said positive.

However, in Commonwealth nations 33 per cent saw Brexit as having a positive impact compared to 20 per cent who had negative.

In the rest of the G20 (Argentina, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the USA), 35 per cent had a positive take on Brexit and 17 per cent negative. 

British Council

The same pattern emerged when asked about their trust in people from the UK following the Brexit vote.

Some 33 per cent of EU nations said that it had a negative impact, 16 per cent positive - but in Commonwealth nations 31 per cent saw the vote as having a positive impact on trust in contrast to 18 per cent negative. The figures for the rest of the G20 were 32 per cent positive and 15 per cent negative. 

British Council

It was repeated when grilled about trust in government.

Some 41 per cent in EU nations said Brexit had a negative impact versus 16 per cent positive. In Commonwealth countries, 29 per cent said it had had a positive impact against 21 per cent negative. The figures for the rest of the G20 were 31 per cent positive and 20 per cent negative.

British Council

The British Council, which champions culture and education abroad, wants to see an “open Brexit” that includes “ease of movement” for students, academics and creatives.

A major flashpoint over Brexit is whether the UK remains a member of the ‘single market’ trading area - which requires free movement of people, doing little to reform border control. 

Ciarán Devane, chief executive of the British Council, said:

“As the UK comes to reposition itself on the world stage, our reputation matters more than ever. We need to address the more negative opinions young people in Europe now have whilst making the most of the positive opinions elsewhere.

“We know cultural exchange builds trust. Staying active on the global stage will pave the way for the renewed alliances and trading deals that the UK will be seeking across the globe.

“Leaving the EU in a way that maintains relationships with the societies of Europe – and that strengthens these partnerships around the world - will be essential. 

“An Open Brexit can use these connections to forge new bonds globally, as well as continue the centuries of cooperation with the nations of Europe in science, education, business and the arts.”

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