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Half of Britons want immediate EU vote: poll

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(LONDON) - Half of Britons want an immediate say on the country's relationship with the European Union, while 81 percent believe a vote should be held "in the next few years", according to a poll published Monday.

Economic woes within the eurozone have recently brought Britain's EU membership into focus, and 49 percent of those polled for the Populus survey said an immediate referendum was needed.

The poll, taken on behalf of the Times newspaper, found that a third of Britons wanted to be part of a single market in a wider European community, with 40 percent opposed.

Only 13 percent said a vote was not necessary "in the foreseeable future".

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Sunday welcomed the rescue package aimed at saving Spain's stricken banks, insisting that "decisive measures" were needed from the eurozone.

The British economy slipped back into recession at the end of last year and stands to take a battering if the crisis in the eurozone -- its largest trading partner -- deepens.

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