Three-quarters of French see image abroad damaged: poll

18th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Nearly three quarters of the French think France's image abroad has been damaged in the past few weeks amid international criticism of Roma minority expulsions, a new poll shows.

The survey found that 71 percent of respondents thought France's international image had deteriorated while only two percent thought it had improved, according to an Ifop poll to be published Sunday in the newspaper Sud Ouest Dimanche in the southwest city of Bordeaux.

Some 27 percent of respondents thought France's global image was unchanged.

The Ifop institute said the general feeling that France's image abroad was damaged recently was found in all population groups surveyed, but "seemed stronger among leftist sympathisers (78 percent) than those to the right (61 percent)".

Acccording to Ifop, the results reflect events that happened over the summer and earlier this month, including the disappointment over the French football team's actions at the World Cup and the dismantling of Roma gypsy camps in France and their being flown back to Romania and Bulgaria.

The polling institute also said the recent protests over raising the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 in France "could also have affected, in the eyes of the French, the degradation" of the country's image as it could be perceived abroad as a place of "dissent and difficult to reform".

The poll was conducted by telephone among a representative sampling of 965 French citizens, aged 18 and older, on September 16 and 17.

© 2010 AFP

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