Thursday

7th Jul 2022

France most pessimistic about Europe, survey shows

  • French had the steepest drop in confidence over the past year (Photo: Moyan Brenn)

France has seen the steepest confidence drop in the EU and in national politicians alike, with the same sour mood in Italy, Spain and Greece, according to a Pew Research Centre survey published on Monday (13 May).

The poll - carried out in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Czech republic - shows that overall support for the EU has fallen from 60 percent in 2012 to 45 percent this year.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It revealed major differences between France and Germany, two of the EU’s biggest economies.

While France is still borrowing at low interest rates compared to other southern euro-countries, the mood inside France has soured dramatically over the past year.

Over 90 percent of French say their economy is doing badly - an increase of 10 percent since last year.

Another 67 percent think President Francois Hollande is doing a poor job handling the economic crisis, up 24 percent compared to Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

French anti-EU sentiment is also on the rise.

The EU is disliked by 58 percent compared to 40 percent in 2012, while 77 percent of French people believe European economic integration has made things worse for France, an increase of 14 points since last year.

French people now have less faith in the EU than the Italians or Spaniards.

Concerns about unemployment are almost as high in France as they are in Spain, Italy and Greece.

Germany, by contrast, is the only country where half the population is in favour of giving more powers to Brussels to deal with the economic crisis.

With its strong economy and positive outlook, Germany is growing increasingly estranged from the rest of Europe, the survey says.

"The increasing alienation of Germany from the rest of Europe is quite striking," Pew director Bruce Stokes told Reuters.

"The Germans seem to be living on a different continent than the French. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say they are living on a different planet," he added.

The leaders of the two countries differ wildly when it comes to political popularity.

Hollande’s approval ratings are nosediving, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most popular leader in Europe.

Her approval rate in Germany, a few months before September elections, is at 74 percent.

With Germany the most economically powerful member state, the country is seen as the least compassionate nation by everybody except France, where Britain is seen as the least caring.

Meanwhile, from the German point of view, Greece and Italy are the least trustworthy.

For the French, Britain is viewed the most negatively. French people consider it to be the least trustworthy and the “most arrogant."

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  2. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  3. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  4. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  5. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  6. British PM faces mounting rebellion
  7. Russian military base near Finnish border emptied
  8. Euro slides to lowest level in two decades

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  2. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  3. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  4. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  5. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  6. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  7. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  8. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us