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16th May 2022

Merkel surprisingly popular in Spain

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

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.

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.

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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.

Spain in wait-and-see mode as recession worsens

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday said his government has not yet taken a decision on asking for European help in refinancing its debt, pending a key meeting of the European Central Bank next week.

Merkel challenger urges more time for Greece

The centre-left's candidate to the German chancellery in 2013, ex-finance minister Peer Steinbrueck has criticised Merkel for not telling Germans the "truth" about Greece.

Anti-austerity protests in Spain turn violent

Protesters clashed with riot police on the streets of Madrid on Tuesday, as Spain braces itself for a fresh round of spending cuts linked to a potential bailout.

EU countries rush to expand gas import capacity

EU plans to quit Russian gas and replace it, in part, by importing overseas liquified natural gas has lead to a flurry of new gas projects — which threaten to lock in unnecessary gas use for decades.

Lagarde signals summer interest rate hike

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde signalled an interest rate increase possibly as early as July, but some experts warn for a repeat of the 2011-2012 debt crisis.

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