Europeans see Germany favourably, but think it has too much power

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 16 Jun, 2017 Updated Fri 16 Jun 2017 12:38 CEST
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A large majority of Europeans have a positive view of Germany, while seeing Berlin as still having too much power in EU affairs, a new survey shows.

The Pew Research Centre study released on Thursday showed that 71 percent of respondents outside of Germany had a favourable view of Germany, compared to 21 percent who had an unfavourable opinion of the Bundesrepublik.

The survey polled almost 10,000 people from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Greece was the one outlier to the Germany love-in. Seventy-six percent of respondents in the birthplace of democracy said they had an unfavourable attitude towards Berlin. But traditional German rival the Netherlands felt very differently - 93 percent of the Dutch said they felt positively about their larger eastern cousin.

Germany viewed positively throughout Europe, except in Greece

The study also showed that the more positive people were about the EU as a whole, the more likely they were to feel favourably about Germany.

When it came to attitudes towards Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ability to show leadership on the world stage, Europeans were much more divided. While 52 percent had confidence in the German Chancellor, 45 percent said they did not.

Again Greeks were the least likely to like the German leader, with 84 percent saying they had no confidence in her. The Dutch were joined by the Swedes in their admission to having strong feelings for Mutti - in both countries 89 percent said they trusted her.

And at the same time, just under half (49 percent) of respondents complained that Germany had too much influence within the EU, with only 5 percent saying it had too little say. Thirty-six percent said it had the right amount of influence.

Predictably, the results also showed a divide between southern and northern Europe.

Southern Europeans overwhelmingly say Germany has too much power over EU decisions

In Spain, Italy and Greece, at least two-thirds of respondents said Germany had too much power. In Poland and Hungary, approximately half agreed with this statement.

Only in the Netherlands and Sweden did minorities of around 20 percent think Berlin needed to be put in its place.

In recent years, Germany has followed two particularly divisive courses in European politics.

An insistence on austerity measures towards the debt-ridden Greece - and a refusal to consider writing off some of Athens' huge debts - has led critics to accuse Berlin of following a rigid doctrine that has driven hundreds of thousands of Greeks into poverty.

Meanwhile, the open-door refugee policy initiated by Merkel in 2015, and her instance on pushing through refugee quotas for EU countries, has gone down badly with eastern EU members reluctant to take in asylum seekers.



The Local 2017/06/16 12:38

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