Last reviewed 28 November 2019

According to a survey published by the European Commission, 60% of Europeans feel that they personally benefit from international trade, 16% more than 10 years ago at the time of a previous, similar poll.

The Commission was also no doubt pleased to report that 71% of respondents believe that the EU is more effective in defending their countries’ trade interests than these countries acting on their own.

What may have come as something of a surprise is that this view was shared by a significant percentage of UK respondents.

That section of the report, available at, shows that, while 24% of EU citizens “totally agree” that the Union does a more effective job, so do 25% in the UK.

Adding in “tend to agree” to these results moves the EU figure up to 71% with the UK recording a surprising 65%.

Of those who “totally disagree” with the proposition, the UK figure is higher than that for the EU as a whole but only by the margin of 10% to 6%.

When asked to what extent did people agree/disagree with the statement that EU trade policy takes into account, the social, environmental and human rights impacts both in the EU and on its trade partners, the answers are again unexpected.

While 56% in the EU agreed totally or tended to agree, the equivalent combined figure for the UK was much higher at 67%.

Finally, when asked whether they agreed/disagreed that they trusted the EU to conduct its trade policy in an open and transparent manner, 59% of EU citizens agreed totally or tended to agree — a figure almost matched in the UK where 58% responded favourably.