As U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to deliver a speech outlining his vision for a new U.K. relationship with the European Union (EU), a recent poll shows that far from feeling alienated from Europe, like their parent's generation, the majority of young people in the U.K. back the "European project".
According to a poll by British-based market research agency, YouGov, young Brits are supporters of EU - as a generation that has grown accustomed to the 12-year-old single currency, inter-continental study or leisure, European employment mobility and that ethereal sense of "belonging" not seemingly experienced by older Brits.
Released last Friday, the survey revealed that 66 percent of 18-34 year olds in Britain would vote "yes" to European Union membership with only 1 in 5 (19 percent) of the same age group feeling that they have not benefited from EU membership.
The U.K. this month marks its 40th anniversary since joining the European Economic Community (EEC), but there are some Britons that are commiserating rather than celebrating. Indeed, 51 percent of respondents over 60 years old told the survey that they did not personally benefit from the EEC's successor, the EU.
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Despite the uptick in young support for the EU, the survey revealed a 12-point lead for those who wish to leave the EU, a figure bolstered by the 61 percent of Brits who would vote "no" to staying within the region.
Young Generation the Key to Stability
Martin Schulz, President of the European parliament, told CNBC that winning the hearts of the younger generation was key to maintaining a peaceful and functioning Europe.
"The national responsibility and the European responsibility is to discuss, especially with young people, their future in the 21st century," he told CNBC on Monday. "No single country - not the U.K., Germany or France will manage the challenges of the 21st century alone."
Cameron's speech on the EU set for Wednesday follows a recent political furore over whether the U.K. could leave the EU if the generally euro-skeptic British public were allowed to vote in a national referendum on EU membership.
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In recent days the British Prime Minister has played down the idea of a referendum over EU membership after international concerns were raised that a Britain out of the EU would damage diplomatic and trade relations. The EU is the U.K.'s biggest trading partner, with trade valued at 400 billion pounds a year ($633.4 billion).