On the weekends NewsRadio at times plays programs from Deutsche Welle. This story about a survey of attitudes of Europeans giving their opinions on each other, on Europe and on themselves intrigued me.
Turns out there is a funny side and a more serious side, but first the links to the study. I gather the countries selected (Britain, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain) were the EU countries included in the Pew Global Attitudes Survey. Here is the Pew EU study, but you may prefer the pdf version. Bruce Stokes from the Pew Research Center has done an overview.
What really tickled me was the Poles finding the Germans as both the most and the least trustworthy, while the Italians nominated themselves as the least trustworthy. You’ll find that and more in this table (page 34 of the pdf):
Every country nominates themselves as the most compassionate. Germany scores well on arrogance and trustworthiness, but is also seen as the least compassionate. The French regard themselves as both most and least arrogant.
More seriously, the European project appears to be in some trouble.
Germany is the only country with a majority (54%, down 5%) thinking that European integration strengthens the economy, with the median 28%, down 6%.
Angela Merkel gets the nod from her own people for her handling of the economic crisis with a whopping 74%, but below The Alps they have a different view. Second in internal approval is daylight, then Cameron in Britain at 37%. In fact, in terms of economic outlook, Germany may as well be on a different continent.
Cuts are seen as more appropriate than stimulus (median 59 to 29) except in Greece and Poland.
A majority are favourable to the EU as an institution only in Germany, Poland and Italy of the countries surveyed. The young in particular are losing faith.
A median of 54% of people in countries outside Europe see the EU in a favourable light compared to 45% within. Nevertheless support for the Euro remains strong.
In France attitudes have soured. Fully 77% of the French think closer business ties with the rest of Europe have undermined their overall economy. Just 41% now support the EU, down from 69% in 2004.
The Brits are split down the middle, with 46% wanting to stay in the EU, 46% want to go and 8% don’t know.
This might give some indication of the mood around the continent: