With Britons due to decide on June 23 whether to exit the EU or remain tied to Brussels, there are growing signs voters across the continent are also craving the chance to have their say on the crisis-stricken political union.
In a new opinion poll in the Netherlands, a majority of voters said they backed the country having its own in/out referendum on EU membership similar to the UK’s.
More than half (53 per cent) supported an in/out vote with 44 per cent opposed and four per cent unsure.
In the survey, conducted by pollster and entrepreneur Maurice de Hond, voters were also asked how they would vote in such an in/out referendum.
Only slightly more (44 per cent) wanted to remain in the EU than those who said they opt to leave the bloc (43 per cent), while 13 per cent said they ‘didn’t know’.
Interestingly, more Dutch voters (48 per cent) said they didn’t want Britain to exit the EU this summer than wanted their own country to stay in the bloc.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker recently warned Dutch voters not to turn an upcoming referendum on the EU”s deal with Ukraine into “a vote about Europe”.
The country will head to the polls on April 6 to vote on the Brussels” association agreement with Kiev, although the result will not be binding.
But Dutch demands for a wider EU referendum came as Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic also voiced disillusionment with Brussels.
The politician, whose country isn’t yet a full member of the EU but is a candidate for membership, claimed being part of the bloc had lost its “magic power”.
Speaking at a conference in London yesterday, he said: “The EU that all of us [Balkan countries] are aspiring to, it has lost its magic power.
“Yes we all want to join, but it is no longer the big dream it was in the past.”
He added: “When you see that in Britain at least 50 percent of the people say they want to leave [the EU] that has an effect on the public.”
Following David Cameron’s completion of his EU renegotiation last week and the announcement of the date of Britain’s referendum, other member states have warned of the ‘domino effect’ of other country’s also snubbing Brussels in the event of Brexit.
Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond acknowledged other European politicians hold a “real fear” that “if Britain leaves, the contagion would spread”.
Speaking ahead of last week’s summit, European Council president Donald highlighted both the threat of Brexit and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe as “the two biggest challenges to the future of the European Union”.