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Are the British anti-Euro?

Posted on 16 June 2003

The British attitude to Europe will be revealed on 20 June when the research of 59 Politics students at the University of York is published.

New research by University of York Politics students

They will describe their findings at a press briefing at the University of York at 11am on Friday 20 June, one day before the European Summit in Thessaloniki in Greece.

Yorkshire and the Humber MEPs will be represented at the briefing.

"This timely test of real opinions in-depth on British attitudes to the EU gives us a unique insight into deepening European scepticism," said MEP Edward McMillan-Scott.

"It underlines the need for a better understanding of what is really going on. A lack of information makes for negative attitudes. I think this research will start the much-needed debate."

Their research, carried out with the public in York and with local political leaders, will yield clues about the public mood towards Europe.

York has long been regarded by social scientists - from the famous Rowntree studies of poverty onwards - as a microcosm of British society. As such, the results of the students' work can be viewed as representative of the British mood.

The findings are the result of a first year group project in which students interviewed nearly 1,000 residents and visitors in York, as well as the MEPs for Yorkshire and the Humber. During their research they considered issues such as:

  • National identity
  • Impact of the media
  • Sporting rivalries
  • Personal experience (including travel)
  • Political personalities
  • Pro or anti-American sentiments
  • Pro or anti-European sentiments
  • Impact of EU policies and institutions

The European Council meeting of EU heads of state and government in Thessaloniki will be presented with the draft constitution by the 'Future of Europe' Convention. It could lead to the 450 million citizens of Europe living under the same constitution for the first time in history. The main proposals include:

  • A president for the EU
  • An EU foreign minister
  • An expanded Commission
  • A Euro defence force
  • Qualified majority voting in place of unanimity
  • Tax harmonisation
  • A charter of fundamental rights
  • Simplifying directives and EU law
  • A pan-European public prosecutor to tackle cross-border fraud

Notes to editors:

  • The Politics Department at York has a teaching quality score of 24/24 and a research rating of 5 (signifying work of international significance).
  • This second year project provides students with an opportunity to research a topical, 'real-world' subject and is designed to equip students with the research skills they will need to undertake their individual undergraduate dissertations, interpret and evaluate published research and commission research in their subsequent careers.
  • Edward McMillan-Scott has been MEP for Yorkshire since 1984.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153