Merkel surprisingly popular in Spain

19.09.12 @ 09:28

  1. By Valentina Pop
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BRUSSELS - Half of Spaniards appreciate German Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership in the euro-crisis, while blaming their own politicians for the economic gloom and unemployment, a survey shows.

  • As popular in Spain as at home: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The survey was published on Tuesday (18 September) by Cicero Group, an international consultancy, and was carried out on a sample of 1,000 Spanish citizens from various social backgrounds.

Asked who is showing the best leadership during the euro-crisis, 50 percent of respondents said Merkel - the queen of EU-demanded austerity programmes in troubled countries,

French President Francois Hollande came in second, at 11 percent, while Spain's own Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy received only three percent support.

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso is seen as a competent leader by two percent of the Spaniards, while EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy and British PM David Cameron came in last, at one percent.

Merkel's high popularity rate is consistent with what Spaniards believe has caused the severe economic crisis they are in: 84 percent blame their own politicians for it, while 70 percent say it was the Spanish banks' fault. Only 18 percent blamed the EU or being a member of the eurozone.

Over half of respondents believe both their government and the Spanish banks will need to ask for more bailout money in the near future. Spain has been granted a €100 billion bailout for its banking sector, but deepening recession combined with the highest unemployment rate in the EU and dwindling tax revenues are likely to force it to ask for another one.

Asked what measures the government should take to fix the economy, a quarter of Spaniards said tax cuts, but almost one in five admitted there are no "quick fixes" at all.

A large majority (64%) endorse deeper EU integration as a way out of the crisis and even more (70%) want Spain to stay in the eurozone. But they are also realistic to the prospects of a Spanish exit, with 46 percent saying the currency would survive even if Spain was forced to leave.

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