Post Brexit, the world waited to see if more European Union member countries will bid adieu to the EU. Several European leaders did call for referendums similar to the June 22 one held in the United Kingdom in their countries, but two weeks after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, it looks like the 28-member bloc is more united than ever. Predictions went awry as establishment parties are reported to have gained a significant lead over the naysayers’ in several EU countries.
Netherlands’ far-right politician Geert Wilders was one of the first European leaders to call for a EU referendum following Brexit. “We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” Wilders said in a statement. “If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.”
He reportedly pledged to make a U.K.-style referendum one of the key issues in the Dutch general election campaign next March. But recent polls show that support for the Freedom party candidate has fallen to its lowest level since last fall.
Another poll by peil.nl found that a majority were in favor of staying in the EU (46 percent to 43 percent). Voters with the lowest educational profile were more in favor of holding a referendum (69 percent) with most voting to leave (64 percent).
“If a referendum is held we would expect that, just as in Britain, the turnout among lower educated voters will be relatively high,” poll organizer Maurice de Hond said.
However, apart from the Freedom party, no other political group is enthusiastic about an EU referendum, reports said. Prime Minister Mark Rutte dismissed the idea as “utterly irresponsible.”
Meanwhile, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity rating is at a 10-month high. Merkel’s party has reportedly gained two percentage points, according to an Infratest Dimap poll. “The Brexit debate has fostered a more pro-European climate among the German population,” Infratest Dimap’s managing director Michael Kunert told the Guardian. “The government is profiting from this trend while populist, eurosceptic parties are suffering.”
Austria’s far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer said Friday that conducting a U.K.-style EU referendum in the country would be a “mistake.” A Gallup poll of 600 Austrians indicated that 60 percent opposed any referendum and only 30 percent favored an Austrian Exit or “Oexit.” A survey conducted by the Austrian Society for European Politics indicated that 23 percent wanted to leave the EU.
“I’m not in favor of an Austrian exit from the European Union. I’ve been annoyed for days that people have assumed I am,” Hofer reportedly said.
Denmark is overwhelmingly in favor of staying put in the EU post Brexit, polls show. The number of people wanting a similar referendum has dropped from 41 percent to 32 percent. A Voxmeter poll indicated that 69 per cent of Danish people are in favor of remaining in the EU, a ten percent rise compared to the week leading up to the Brexit.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen reportedly said, “We belong to the EU and I am not operating on [the belief] that we should have a referendum on that basic question.”
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had reassured the EU of Italy’s commitment post Brexit. “Europe is our home, it’s our future,” he said and added that the organization needed change “to make it more humane and more just.”
Italy’s most popular party at the moment, Five Star Movement, is in favor of remaining in the EU but is seeking a non-binding referendum on the euro. A poll carried out after Brexit found that 66 percent of Italians would vote to remain in the EU and 26 percent would vote to leave.
France’s far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen’s Front National has reportedly remained fairly stable with its leader expected to get through the final round of the presidential race in 2017.