Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Pew Research survey: "European Unity on the Rocks"

It is now becoming increasingly clear that the entire European project has failed. The EU political leaders and the unelected Brussels bureaucrats still blabber about "ever closer integration" and economic and political union, but the Pew Research Center´s latest survey reveals the reality: 

The European project, which began with the creation of a small Common Market in 1957, grew to a larger Single Market in 1992 and then created a single currency in 2002, is a major casualty of the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis.
Across the eight European Union member countries surveyed, a median of only 34% think that European economic integration has strengthened their country’s economy. Indeed, majorities or near majorities in most nations now believe that the economic integration of Europe has actually weakened their economies. This is the opinion in Greece (70%), France (63%), Britain (61%), Italy (61%), the Czech Republic (59%) and Spain (50%). Only in Germany (59%) do most people say that their country has been well served by European integration.
Among the five euro area nations surveyed, a median of only 37% believes having the euro as their currency has been a good thing. This includes just 30% of the Italians and 31% of the French. At the same time, the three non-euro zone countries surveyed are quite happy they have kept their own currencies, including nearly three-quarters of the British (73%).
Moreover, as public criticism of European unity grows, faith in its benefits and institutions erodes. Since 2009, belief that European economic integration, the raison d’être of the European Union, has weakened their national economy has grown by 22 percentage points in the Czech Republic, 20 points in Italy, and 18 points in Spain. And, since 2007, the favorability of the European Union as an organization has fallen 20 points in Spain and the Czech Republic, 19 points in Italy and 14 points in Poland.

Supporters of the euro and the "European project" may take some comfort in this: 

Nevertheless, the symbols of a united Europe retain public support. Despite the falloff in EU favorability, most Europeans surveyed still see the European Union in a positive light, including 69% of the Poles, 68% of the Germans and 60% of the French and Spanish. And more than half in all five euro area countries surveyed – including 71% of the Greeks, 69% of the French and 66% of the Germans – would like to keep the euro as their currency and not return to the drachma, the franc, the mark or other national currencies.

In opinion polls it is not unusual that some of the replies conflict with the views expressed in some of the other  answers. That the "symbols of a united Europe" still retain public support reflects the fact that many people, though extremely critical in general, at least for the moment, are worried about what an end of the present system would mean. In such situations the tendency is often to favour the status quo.  However, it is likely that this will change as the economic situation in the eurozone - and in the European Union in general - continues to deteriorate. 

Germany is the "last bastion" of the europhiles, but even that is bound to change when the wheels of the German export machine are slowing down and the entire negative forces of Angela Merkel´s energy transition policy are fully felt: 

The public mood in Germany is considerably more positive than elsewhere in Europe. They are the only Europeans surveyed who are satisfied with the direction of their country and who think their economy is doing well. Germany is the only country where a majority of the population currently thinks that European economic integration has strengthened the national economy. Germans are most likely, by far, to say that EU membership has been a good thing. They are the least concerned about the lack of jobs, rising prices and the power of unions. Germany is the most admired country in the EU and its chancellor the most respected leader. 

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