UE: bientôt la sortie du Royaume-Uni ?

LONDRES – Le référendum sur l'indépendance de l'Ecosse qui aura lieu le 18 septembre survient à un moment d'opposition grandissante de l'opinion publique britannique au maintien dans l'UE. Cela va jouer un rôle important, car au sein du Royaume-Uni c'est en Ecosse que le sentiment pro-européen est le plus vivace.

Ainsi d'après un sondage qui a eu lieu fin juin dans l'ensemble du Royaume-Uni, un référendum tenu à cette date aurait donné 47,1% des voix en faveur de la sortie de l'UE et 39,4% en faveur du maintien du pays au sein de l'UE. Par contre, selon un autre sondage réalisé en Ecosse au mois de février, les Ecossais auraient voté à 48,7% pour le maintien du Royaume-Uni au sein de l'UE, et à 35,4% en faveur de sa sortie. D'autres sondages montrent que l'Ecosse est de manière persistante nettement plus favorable à l'UE que l'Angleterre.

Certes il est prématuré de tirer des conclusions définitives à partir de ces chiffres. Le référendum proposé par le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron sur la sortie de l'UE n'aura peut-être pas lieu, quel que soit le résultat de la renégociation qu'il promet des conditions d'adhésion de la Grande-Bretagne. Mais du fait de questions d'apparence mineure, la sortie de la Grande-Bretagne parait de plus en plus probable - ce qui diminue l'importance du référendum écossais.

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