Faith in the EU seriously shaken
"The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union": this was the title chosen by the Pew Research Center – an American thinktank which surveys and compares public opinion in 40 countries every year – for its study conducted last March, which surveyed 7,600 people in eight EU countries (France, Germany, Britian, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, and Greece).
The findings, remarks Libération, retrace "the blighted love story" between Europe and its citizens. "In 2012-13, support for the EU fell from a median of 60 per cent to a median of 45 per cent" – a slump that leads us to conclude that "the popularity of the European Union has reached a record low […] in most European countries."
"However", argues the daily’s deputy editor, in spite of "these sombre results[…], there are several good reasons to sustain hope in the solidity of the [European] edifice" –
… Europeans have shown themselves to be paradoxically fond of the euro. […] Some 63 per cent of French respondents want to keep the European currency, which is also favoured by 69 per cent of Greeks, 67 per cent of Spaniards, 64 per cent of Italians and even 66 per cent of Germans.
"The Germans are distinguished by the solidity of their faith in Europe," explains Libération, with 60 per cent of the population on the other side of the Rhine in favour of the EU.
It is a far cry from the bitterness in Metropolitan France, where only 41 per cent of residents have a positive view of the EU. For "the first time, attitudes in France are similar to those in Greece," remarks one of the authors of the report, Bruce Stokes.
German daily Die Welt notes that a "growing divergence of opinion on the EU" has notably emerged between France and Germany. At the same time, the newspaper remarks that –
… the French have less confidence in EU institutions than the Italians and the Spanish. […] Confidence in national governments has also declined in France and the crisis stricken countries of southern Europe. In contrast, Chancellor Angela Merkel benefits from a positive image. Notwithstanding the harsh criticism of her austerity policies in numerous European states, 74 per cent of German respondents believe that she is doing a good job of managing the crisis.
Read this article in French.