Two-thirds more sympathetic to EU citizens in UK since Covid-19, survey suggests


More than two-thirds of people have become more sympathetic to European citizens living in the UK since the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey.

Polling by new pro-European campaign group eu+me shows 68% of respondents in the UK and 71% of those polled in Scotland say they are more sympathetic to people from the EU who have this country as their home after the outbreak struck.

A total of 63% agree that the UK will need more people from the EU to live and work here as a result of Covid-19.

It also shows two-thirds of Scots say they would welcome more EU citizens to make their home here in these circumstances.

Fergus Mutch, group director, said: “These figures sink the claims made by the UK Government that people want to see an end to free movement.

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed so much about how people see our place in the world, and our relationship with our closest neighbours.

“The UK’s economy has taken a hammering in the past few months.

“If we want to give ourselves the best chance of rebuilding society in the wake of the pandemic then welcoming people with the right skills from the EU to live and work here is absolutely critical.

“EU citizens are our friends, our family and our colleagues.

“They hold together our NHS and care sector, they are integral to the success of key industries, they exchange knowledge, ideas and drive progress in our universities and we depend on them heavily in the agriculture and hospitality sectors.”

eu+me was launched on Wednesday as a grassroots campaign to rejoin the EU and is not aligned with any political party.

The Scotland-wide sample size was 1,127 people while for the rest of the UK it was 1,022.