Brits less popular after Europeans get to know them

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BRUSSELS, Oct 19 (Reuters) A poll of Europeans showed people of different nationalities liked each other more after getting to know each other, except in the case of the British -- who became less popular.

A project organised by the Notre Europe think tank brought together 362 citizens from 27 EU states for two days of deliberations in Brussels last weekend.

They were asked their views on a range of issues before and after the event, including how much they liked or disliked German, French, Polish, Italian, British and Spanish people.

The Spaniards were most popular with 78.6 per cent approval at the end of the weekend. The Poles the least with 67 per cent.

But all nationalities gained in popularity, bar the British who went from a 70.3 per cent approval rating at the start of the weekend to 68.1 per cent by the end.

Professor James Fishkin of Stanford University in the United States, who developed the polling technique used, urged some caution about the findings.

''I would be careful about drawing too much inference about people disliking the British -- it's small and not significant, but you know, it is what it is, and it did happen that way.'' Fishkin said he did not think France's defeat by England in the rugby World Cup semi-final in between the two polls had had an influence, even though the number of French participants in the survey was disproportionately high.

REUTERS SYU KP0905

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