Adults in Five Largest European Countries Have Mixed Feelings on Their Countries’ Influence in the European Union

New York, N.Y. – June 27, 2013 – A recent Financial Times/Harris Poll in the five largest European countries looks at the perception of each country’s influence in the EU, as well as how each country’s leaders are handling the economic crisis in Europe.

Almost half of Britons (46%) say the United Kingdom’s influence in the European Union is too weak, while 8% say it is too strong. At least one-quarter of other adults in the other four countries believe the UK’s influence is too strong in the EU. Among French adults, almost half (45%) say their country’s influence in the EU is about right, as do majorities in Italy (59%), Spain (58%) and Germany (51%), while 35% of British adults believe it is too strong.

Half of Germans (50%) believe their country’s influence in the EU is about right, but this is definitely not an opinion shared by those in the other four countries, as almost half of Britons (48%), the majority of French adults (56%) and over four in five Italians (82%) and Spaniards (88%) say Germany’s influence is too strong. Over three-quarters of Italians (76%) and Spaniards (77%) each say the influence of their country is too weak.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online among 5,101 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,015), Germany (1,016), Great Britain (1,024), Spain (1,021), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,025), between May 21 and 29, 2013.

Some other findings of this survey include:

  • While two in five Germans (41%) believe Angela Merkel is doing a good job in handling Europe’s economic crisis, three in five Spaniards (61%) say she is doing a bad job and Italians are divided, with 36% saying she is doing a good job and the same percentage saying she is doing a bad job;
  • Half of French adults (49%) say Francois Hollande is doing a bad job handling the economic crisis in Europe, while almost half of Italians (45%) and 42% of Spaniards say he is doing neither a good nor a bad job;
  • Three-quarters of Spaniards (74%) say that Mariano Rajoy is doing a bad job of handling Europe’s economic crisis, while two-thirds of Britons (64%) and half of French (50%) and German (49%) adults are not sure;
  • More than two in five Britons (44%) say David Cameron is doing a bad job of handling Europe’s economic crisis, and almost half of Italians (45%) and two in five Spaniards (39%) say he is doing neither a good nor bad job;
  • Italians are divided on how Mario Draghi is handling the economic crisis in Europe. One-third say he is doing a good job (34%), an additional one-third say he is doing neither a good nor bad job (33%), and one in five say he is doing a bad job (21%);
  • About two in five adults in France (44%), Italy (41%), Germany (39%) and Spain (38%), as well as 31% of Britons, agree that Germany is right to say that greater competitiveness is the main answer to their countries’ economic difficulties. But, three-quarters of Spaniards (73%), over half of Italians (56%), 42% of French adults and 37% of Britons disagree with the statement that Germany is right to urge tough austerity measures in their country even when growth is weak; 45% of Germans agree with this statement;
  • There are definitely mixed feelings towards Germany. Three-quarters of Italians (73%) and Spaniards (75%) believe Germany is showing not enough solidarity towards the rest of the Eurozone, while half of Germans (52%) say they are showing too much and one-third of French adults (33%) say Germany is showing about the right amount of solidarity;
  • Almost two-thirds of Spaniards (64%), half of Italians (51%) and about two in five Britons (44%) and French (37%) think Germany’s call for greater fiscal and political union will lead to a more German-dominated EU. Two in five Germans (41%) however, do not think this; and
  • There is one thing that adults in these five countries agree on – strong majorities in Germany (69%), Great Britain (66%) and France (58%), as well as half of Spaniards (51%) and Italians (48%), do not think their countries should transfer more power to the EU over their respective national budgets.

 


TABLE 1

UK’S INFLUENCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Do you believe each of the following countries’ influence in the European Union to be…?
[United-Kingdom]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

8%

28%

25%

36%

25%

About right

28%

38%

54%

45%

39%

Too weak

46%

13%

7%

9%

15%

Not sure

18%

21%

13%

10%

21%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

6%

27%

23%

27%

28%

About right

27%

36%

48%

44%

35%

Too weak

49%

18%

13%

14%

16%

Not sure

18%

19%

16%

15%

20%

11th October to 19th October 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

6%

23%

21%

34%

22%

About right

29%

35%

49%

41%

31%

Too weak

41%

16%

9%

10%

15%

Not sure

24%

26%

22%

15%

33%

2nd Feb uary – 9th February 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

5%

21%

30%

36%

19%

About right

23%

43%

44%

40%

34%

Too weak

43%

15%

8%

9%

15%

Not sure

28%

21%

19%

16%

32%

 

TABLE 2

FRANCE’S INFLUENCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Do you believe each of the following countries’ influence in the European Union to be…?

[France]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

35%

8%

24%

22%

20%

About right

32%

45%

59%

58%

51%

Too weak

7%

33%

8%

11%

12%

Not sure

27%

14%

8%

8%

18%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

42%

9%

33%

38%

26%

About right

28%

54%

53%

46%

50%

Too weak

6%

27%

5%

8%

10%

Not sure

24%

9%

8%

8%

14%

11th October to 19th October 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

37%

16%

48%

55%

25%

About right

29%

56%

35%

31%

41%

Too weak

4%

11%

3%

4%

10%

Not sure

30%

17%

14%

10%

24%

2nd February – 9th February 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

43%

14%

32%

40%

20%

About right

22%

58%

49%

43%

40%

Too weak

4%

14%

6%

3%

13%

Not sure

30%

14%

13%

13%

27%

 

TABLE 3

ITALY’S INFLUENCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Do you believe each of the following countries’ influence in the European Union to be…?

[Italy]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

8%

4%

2%

4%

16%

About right

35%

41%

15%

36%

34%

Too weak

19%

33%

76%

48%

29%

Not sure

39%

23%

7%

12%

22%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

10%

5%

1%

6%

23%

About right

34%

40%

23%

36%

37%

Too weak

21%

35%

72%

47%

20%

Not sure

36%

20%

4%

11%

19%

11th October to 19th October 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

10%

11%

3%

14%

28%

About right

35%

38%

21%

42%

23%

Too weak

17%

24%

64%

29%

19%

Not sure

38%

28%

13%

15%

30%

2nd February – 9th February 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

14%

5%

3%

15%

22%

About right

34%

50%

28%

43%

26%

Too weak

13%

21%

58%

25%

20%

Not sure

39%

25%

11%

17%

32%

 

TABLE 4

GERMANY’S INFLUENCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Do you believe each of the following countries’ influence in the European Union to be…?

[Germany]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

48%

56%

82%

88%

22%

About right

24%

26%

13%

8%

50%

Too weak

4%

5%

1%

1%

16%

Not sure

24%

12%

4%

3%

12%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

56%

55%

83%

83%

16%

About right

19%

34%

12%

10%

46%

Too weak

3%

2%

1%

1%

28%

Not sure

22%

9%

4%

6%

9%

11th October to 19th October 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

41%

38%

53%

67%

18%

About right

27%

43%

32%

21%

38%

Too weak

3%

3%

2%

3%

25%

Not sure

30%

16%

13%

9%

19%

2nd February – 9th February 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

43%

40%

44%

57%

12%

About right

23%

41%

40%

29%

42%

Too weak

4%

4%

3%

2%

25%

Not sure

30%

14%

12%

12%

21%

 

TABLE 5

SPAIN’S INFLUENCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Do you believe each of the following countries’ influence in the European Union to be…?

[Spain]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

6%

5%

1%

3%

11%

About right

32%

33%

26%

15%

34%

Too weak

24%

40%

62%

77%

32%

Not sure

38%

22%

11%

5%

22%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

8%

5%

2%

2%

19%

About right

36%

37%

32%

14%

38%

Too weak

25%

41%

56%

79%

24%

Not sure

31%

18%

10%

5%

20%

11th October to 19th October 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

9%

8%

3%

3%

18%

About right

34%

35%

43%

23%

31%

Too weak

19%

30%

35%

64%

20%

Not sure

38%

27%

19%

9%

31%

2nd February – 9th February 2011

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too strong

12%

4%

4%

5%

14%

About right

33%

48%

50%

24%

32%

Too weak

17%

26%

29%

58%

23%

Not sure

39%

22%

18%

13%

31%

 

TABLE 6

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[Angela Merkel]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

23%

30%

36%

15%

41%

Neither good nor bad

24%

27%

19%

20%

26%

Bad job

16%

29%

36%

61%

20%

Not sure

37%

15%

9%

4%

12%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 7

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[Francois Hollande]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

5%

13%

21%

14%

13%

Neither good nor bad

28%

28%

45%

42%

36%

Bad job

18%

49%

19%

30%

24%

Not sure

49%

11%

15%

14%

27%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 8

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[Mariano Rajoy]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

3%

5%

6%

7%

5%

Neither good nor bad

21%

30%

37%

15%

30%

Bad job

12%

14%

23%

74%

16%

Not sure

64%

50%

34%

4%

49%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 9

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[David Cameron]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

13%

15%

21%

12%

12%

Neither good nor bad

26%

32%

45%

39%

32%

Bad job

44%

26%

15%

35%

27%

Not sure

18%

27%

19%

15%

30%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 10

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[Mario Draghi]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

3%

8%

34%

6%

8%

Neither good nor bad

21%

31%

33%

35%

35%

Bad job

15%

15%

21%

39%

18%

Not sure

61%

45%

12%

20%

39%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 11

HANDLING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Do you think the following are doing a good/bad job in handling Europe’s economic crisis…?

[Jose Manuel Barroso]

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good job

4%

8%

11%

5%

12%

Neither good nor bad

20%

32%

42%

34%

31%

Bad job

15%

20%

25%

41%

19%

Not sure

60%

40%

23%

20%

38%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 12

GREATER COMPETITIVENESS

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Germany is right to say that greater competitiveness is the main answer to your country’s economic difficulties.

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

31%

44%

41%

38%

39%

Strongly agree

5%

11%

7%

11%

7%

Somewhat agree

26%

33%

34%

27%

32%

Neither agree nor disagree

45%

33%

29%

24%

37%

Disagree (NET)

25%

23%

30%

38%

24%

Somewhat disagree

18%

14%

19%

15%

18%

Strongly disagree

6%

9%

11%

23%

6%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 13

AUSTERITY MEASURES

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Germany is right to urge tough austerity measures in your country even when growth is weak.

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

24%

25%

20%

15%

45%

Strongly agree

5%

7%

4%

4%

12%

Somewhat agree

19%

19%

17%

11%

34%

Neither agree nor disagree

39%

33%

24%

11%

27%

Disagree (NET)

37%

42%

56%

73%

28%

Somewhat disagree

22%

22%

31%

21%

19%

Strongly disagree

14%

19%

25%

53%

9%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 14

GERMANY AND THE REST OF THE EUROZONE

Do you think Germany is showing too much, the right amount or not enough solidarity towards the rest of the eurozone?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too much

12%

20%

1%

3%

52%

About the right amount

29%

33%

18%

13%

35%

Not enough

30%

31%

73%

75%

8%

Not sure

29%

16%

8%

10%

5%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

6th November to 12th November 2012

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Too much

19%

20%

1%

3%

55%

About the right amount

21%

37%

17%

17%

34%

Not enough

31%

33%

74%

71%

7%

Not sure

29%

10%

8%

8%

4%

 

TABLE 15

WEALTH TRANSFER

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Germany should transfer more of its wealth to weaker eurozone members.

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

38%

33%

50%

53%

13%

Strongly agree

10%

11%

14%

21%

3%

Somewhat agree

28%

21%

36%

32%

10%

Neither agree nor disagree

36%

37%

28%

29%

24%

Disagree (NET)

26%

30%

22%

18%

63%

Somewhat disagree

17%

19%

14%

11%

28%

Strongly disagree

8%

11%

8%

7%

34%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 16

ON GERMAN-DOMINATED EU (PART 1)

Do you think Germany’s call for greater fiscal and political union will lead to a more German-dominated EU?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

44%

37%

51%

64%

27%

No

13%

28%

26%

16%

41%

Not sure

43%

35%

23%

21%

32%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 17

ON GERMAN-DOMINATED EU (PART 2)

Would this more German-dominated EU be good or bad for your country?

Base: All EU adults in five countries who think Germany’s call for greater fiscal and political union will lead to a more German-dominated EU

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good

7%

11%

10%

6%

47%

Neither good nor bad

15%

20%

16%

13%

26%

Bad

70%

63%

70%

76%

23%

Not sure

9%

6%

4%

5%

4%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 18

ON GERMAN INFLUENCE ON THE EU

Do you think that Germany is a positive or negative influence on the European Union?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Positive

31%

38%

24%

23%

53%

Neither positive nor negative

30%

29%

25%

26%

29%

Negative

16%

21%

43%

42%

10%

Not sure

23%

12%

8%

9%

8%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 19

ON NATIONAL BUDGET TRANSFER TO THE EU

Do you think that your country should transfer more power to the EU over its national budget?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

9%

18%

30%

25%

16%

No

66%

58%

48%

51%

69%

Not sure

25%

25%

22%

24%

15%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

Methodology

This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 5,101 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,015), Germany (1,016), Great Britain (1,024), Spain (1,021), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,025) between May 21 and 29, 2013. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and the British Polling Council.

The Harris Poll #41, June 27, 2013

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations

 

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