Eight in ten Germans think the EU needs to be reformed
What most Germans can agree upon is that the EU cannot stay as it is. But when it comes to how change should look, views differ sharply.
The EU is about to celebrate its 60th birthday, but its age is showing. The British have opted to leave, while Eurosceptic parties are growing in popularity in major members, such as France and the Netherlands.
In Germany too, the anti-Euro Alternative for Germany (AfD) are set to win their first seats in the Bundestag (German parliament) this September.
And it seems that the German electorate are also restless for change.
A YouGov poll published earlier in March shows that only 7 percent of Germans say that the EU should “keep doing what it is doing.”
The poll was taken after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker set out five possible paths for the future of the EU, including creating a “multi-speed” union, in which some countries would head down the road to integration faster than others.
The choice for the future of Europe most popular with Germans was comprehensive integration of member states in all political spheres - a vision which won the approval of 29 percent of respondents.
Sixteen percent of Germans went for the concept of a multi-speed Europe, favoured by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which would give members the flexibility to choose which forms of integration they wanted to become involved in.
But support for reducing the scale of European integration was also strong. Twenty-one percent of respondents said that the powers of the EU should be reduced to a few, as yet undetermined, competencies. Meanwhile, 13 percent said they want the EU to go back to only being a single economic market.
On March 25th European leaders will set out the “Rome Agenda”, a declaration on the future of the EU aimed at securing public support for the project.
Michael Roth, a junior minister in the German Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying last week that Germany is “anything but satisfied” with progress on the declaration, which is seen as key in winning support back from rising nationalism.