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Polls show mixed attitudes of Swiss towards Brussels

The latest opinion poll asking the Swiss whether they want to join the European Union has produced a significantly lower percentage of "no's" than a survey published just three days ago.

While Sunday's survey in the 'Sonntagsblick' paper shows little over half of the population to be against membership of the bloc, last Thursday's poll in the weekly 'L'Hebdo' showed opposition running as high as 62 percent.

Furthermore, while the French-speaking 'L'Hebdo' found that seven out of every ten German-speakers in Switzerland opposed full EU membership, the German-speaking 'Sonntagsblick' put the figure at only six out of ten.

In a separate part of the 'Sonntagsblick' survey, people were asked how favourable they were to Switzerland's joining the United Nations. Nearly two-thirds, or 59 percent, said they were.

The issue of whether Berne should join the 15-nation Brussels bloc has been at the forefront of discussions in Switzerland, both in the run-up to - and in the wake of - last weekend's overwhelmingly positive vote in a referendum on strengthening ties with the EU.

Analysts have been hard-pressed to explain the large variations in the two opinion polls' findings. Both surveys were carried out by highly reliable institutions. The 'Sonntagsblick' survey was done by Isopublic, and questioned 1,502 people between May 25 and 27. MIS Trend carried out the poll for 'L'Hebdo', and surveyed 752 citizens on May 22.

Experts have, however, been quick to point out that surveys are mere indicators of trends, and do have a certain margin of error. Furthermore, opinion polls are not as comprehensive as nation-wide votes. What they do show, in this particular case, is that the Swiss are currently none too favourable when it comes to jumping on the Brussels bandwagon. And, perhaps, that their opinions are not steadfast, and can vary in time.

swissinfo and agencies



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