Majority in UK have a positive view of the EU – poll

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A majority of British voters believe being a member of the European Union has done the country more good than harm, according to an international poll.

The Transatlantic Trends survey found that while 40 per cent saw it as a negative – the second highest after Greece of the 10 member states surveyed – 51 per cent believed the UK had benefited overall.

Despite being carried out in the weeks after Ukip’s European elections victory in May, it also showed a clear public preference to remain in a reformed EU rather than quit altogether – by 57 per cent to 35 per cent.

Voters in other EU countries share the desire for the UK to remain a member – except France where a 52 per cent majority would like to see their neighbour exit.

In previous years the survey has found a more hostile response when people have been asked about the effects of Brussels specifically on the UK economy, with the majority suggesting it was harmful against 40 per cent beneficial.

The annual poll of 13 countries – also including the USA, Russia and Turkey – found that while American president Barack Obama enjoyed a healthy 63 per cent approval in the UK, a large number (42 per cent) of voters were in favour of the UK acting more independently.

But a majority were now satisfied overall with David Cameron’s foreign policy –up from 44 per cent in 2013 to 51 per cent.

Immigration remains a fertile ground for Ukip, with 73 per cent expressing dissatisfaction with the Government’s policies.

However, while 54 per cent declared there were “too many” immigrants in the UK, that fell to just 31 per cent when people were told the actual present proportion of the population which is from overseas.