The British were not the only nation to be questioning their place in the EU, however, with euroskeptic parties on the rise throughout Europe, especially against a backdrop of immigration, regulations and the controversial cost of EU membership.
Pew noted that the EU's image and stature had been through a "roller-coaster" ride in recent years and that it had noted that the portion of the public with a favorable view of the largely Brussels-based EU establishment fell markedly, especially at the height of Europe's financial crisis in 2012-2013.
"It (the portion of the public with a favorable view of the EU) subsequently rebounded in 2014 and 2015. But the EU is again experiencing a sharp dip in public support in a number of its largest member states," the center noted.
EU favorability was down in five of the six nations surveyed in both 2015 and 2016, Pew said. There had been a double-digit drop in France (down 17 percentage points) and Spain (16 points), and single-digit declines in Germany (8 points), the U.K. (7 points) and Italy (6 points). The Pew Research Center said the decline was driven by a fall in favorability among older people.
On the flipside, young people with those aged 18 to 34 were more favorable towards the EU than people aged 50 and older in six of the 10 nations surveyed. The generation gap was most pronounced in France – 25 percentage points – with 56 percent of young people but only 31 percent of older people having a positive opinion of the EU. There are similar generation gaps of 19 points in the UK, 16 points in the Netherlands, 14 points in Poland and Germany, and 13 points in Greece.
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