PEOPLE in the UK as a whole are some of the least likely to say they have confidence in the European Union – but Scotland is “among the most positive” countries about the bloc, a newly published poll of international views has found.

The World Values Survey (WVS) from The Policy Institute at King's College London, which was released on Thursday, found that only Spanish people (on 52%) were more likely to have confidence in the EU than Scots (50%).

The National:

Sweden (49%), France (47%), Poland (46%), Germany (45%), and even Norway (44%) all ranked above the other UK nations of Northern Ireland (42%), England (39%), and Wales (37%). The UK as a whole matched England on 39%.

Only Italy (38%) and Greece (26%) ranked lower than the UK, according to the WVS poll.

The survey further found that the UK public “are twice as likely to say they’re disappointed (49%) rather than happy (24%) that the UK voted to leave the EU”.

While disappointment was the most common response across all four UK nations, it was felt “most keenly in Scotland (59%) and Northern Ireland (54%)”.

Just 14% of Scots said they were pleased the UK voted to leave the EU, compared to 25% of English people and 24% as a UK-wide average.

The National:

The WVS poll also found a “rebounding confidence” in the EU across the UK in the wake of Brexit. After a trough in 2009, confidence in the EU “has risen among all generations in Britain”, the poll found, noting that younger people were more likely than older ones to have a positive view of the bloc.

The KCL report notes: “Confidence among all generations – including older cohorts – has grown, with a notable uptick between 2018 and 2022. For example, during this period, the share of baby boomers saying they had confidence in the EU rose from 24% to 34%.”

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But while Brits’ confidence in the EU is on the rise, their confidence in parliament is at an “historic low”. And the WVS found that, “by international standards, people in the UK have relatively little confidence in the government”.

The report said that Britons were around twice as likely to say they have confidence in the civil service (49%) than the government (24%) or parliament (23%). The uptick in confidence in the EU since 2018 has also opened up “a clear divide” there, the report notes.

The report said: “The British public were far more likely to say they had confidence in the EU (39%) than in either parliament or the government.”

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The low score for confidence in parliament (23%) puts the UK below countries such as Russia, Nigeria, and France, but above nations including Brazil, the US, and Mexico.

And the 24% of Brits who have confidence in government puts the UK “on a par with the likes of Poland (23%), Brazil (23%) and Italy (23%), but far behind many peer nations such as Norway (59%), Canada (46%) and Germany (44%)”, the report states.

It goes on: “However, it’s important to recognise that many respondents’ answers are likely to represent a short-term appraisal of the current government's [sic] performance, rather than their views of government as an institution or system.”

The WVS also found that the UK is second-lowest when it comes to public confidence in the press. Just 13% of the British public reported trusting the news, ahead of only Egypt, where 8% say the same.

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The report states: “The UK therefore ranks among the very lowest on this measure. Compared with the UK, confidence in the press is three times as high in Germany (36%) and more than twice as high in France, Spain and the US (30%). And the gap between the UK and Japan (70%) – which ranks top among higher-income democratic nations – is 57 percentage points.”

Commenting on the WVS findings, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said it was clear that Brexit is “a never-ending disaster and Scotland's needs are being ignored at every turn”.

He went on: "Bluntly put, Brexit has hammered our economy, our relations with our fellow Europeans, and has worsened the cost of living crisis.

"And, to top it off, Westminster is also using Brexit as a blatant power grab by using the Internal Market Act to undermine devolution.

"With the Tories and Labour now both fully signed up to the Brexit brigade and democracy denying club, it is clearer than ever there has never been a more dangerous time for devolution.”

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said that Brexit was becoming “more damaging and unpopular” as time went on.

He went on: "Whether it is the higher prices we are all paying for essential goods, the escalating cruelty of post-Brexit immigration and asylum policies, or the loss of free movement across the continent, Brexit has been a huge and totally avoidable disaster.

"It seems pretty clear that if the vote were to be rerun today, the majority in Scotland for Remain would be even larger.

"With every passing day, and with Labour embracing the folly just as much as the Tories, Brexit is only getting more entrenched. The only way we can end this mess in Scotland is to rejoin the EU as an independent country."

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For the WVS, the UK fieldwork was completed March to September 2022 by Ipsos, among a random probability sample of 3056 adults aged over 18. This included respondents in England (1645) and boost samples in Scotland (523), Wales (437) and Northern Ireland (446) and 5 from an unknown region.

The KCL report said the sample meant statisticians could “compare the UK against other countries around the world, but also the four UK nations against each other”.

It adds: “The WVS is an international research programme devoted to the study of people’s social, political, economic, religious and cultural values around the world.

"Running since 1981, the WVS is the world’s largest and most widely used social survey… The WVS covers 120 countries represented across seven waves of data, with the most recent wave – seven – the largest wave yet.”