European Unity on the Rocks

May 29, 2012

In Europe, what started out four years ago as a sovereign debt crisis, morphed into a euro currency crisis and led to the fall of several European governments, has now triggered a full-blown crisis of public confidence: in the economy, in the future, in the benefits of European economic integration, in membership in the European Union, in the euro and in the free market system. The public is very worried about joblessness, inflation and public debt, and those fears are fueling much of this uncertainty and negativity.

Europeans largely oppose further fiscal austerity to deal with the crisis. They are divided on bailing out indebted nations. They oppose Brussels’ impending oversight of national budgets. At the same time, Europeans who now use the euro have no desire to abandon it and return to their former currency. And anti-German sentiment is largely contained to Greece, at least for the moment.

The crisis has exposed sharp differences between some Europeans. Germany is the most admired nation in the EU and its leader the most respected. The Germans are judged to be Europe’s most hardworking people. And the Germans are the strongest supporters of both European economic integration and the European Union.

Read the full report, European Unity on the Rocks, on the Pew Global Attitudes Project website.

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