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51% of Britons 'see beneficial EU'

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% saw it as a negative - the second highest after Greece of the 10 member states surveyed - 51% believed the UK had benefited overall.

Despite being carried out in the weeks after the UK Independence Party'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% to 35%.

Voters in other EU countries share the desire for the UK to remain a member - except France where a 52% 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% 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% approval in the UK, a large number (42%) of voters were in favour of the UK acting more independently.

But a majority are now satisfied overall with Prime Minister David Cameron's foreign policy - up from 44% in 2013 to 51%.

Immigration remains a fertile ground for Ukip, with 73% expressing dissatisfaction with the Government's policy - almost as high as the proportions in Spain (77%) and Greece (75%).

However, while 54% declared there were "too many" immigrants in the UK, that fell to just 31% when people were given the actual present proportion of the population which is from overseas.

Half said immigrants to the UK were poorly integrated into society, though 63% believed those born in the UK to immigrants were fitting in well.

Almost half ( 48%) said they wanted to see Britain become "more restrictive" on the taking in of refugees.

The poll found that more than a third of Britons had considered moving abroad because of the recent recession.

In a signal of improving conditions however, fewer now consider themselves personally affected by the financial squeeze - 62%, down seven points on 2013.

The telephone survey of 1,000 people in the UK as part of the international poll was carried out by ICM between June 2-23 and co-ordinated by TNS.

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