France Leads Europe in Growing Disillusionment With EU

France’s frustration with Europe has soared as French attitudes diverge from German public opinion, a Pew Research Center report shows.

“No European country is becoming more dispirited and disillusioned faster than France,” according to the report, released in Brussels and Washington. “The French are negative about the economy, with 91 percent saying it is doing badly, up 10 percentage points from 2012.”

France’s malaise with the European Union’s outlook is more similar to sentiment in Spain, Italy and Greece than it is to the mood in Germany, which is the only EU nation of eight surveyed where at least half the public backed giving more power to Brussels to deal with the economic crisis.

“The prolonged economic crisis has created centrifugal forces that are pulling European public opinion apart, separating the French from the Germans and the Germans from everyone else,” according to the report.

At the same time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel “remains the most popular leader in Europe by a wide margin,” with five of the eight surveyed nations expressing approval.

The EU’s common currency, the 17-nation euro, also retained support. More than 60 percent of respondents favored keeping the euro in Greece, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. “Support for the euro has actually increased in Italy and Spain since last year,” the study said.

The survey polled 7,646 respondents from March 2-27 in eight European nations: Italy, France, Spain, the U.K., Greece, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Christie in Brussels at rchristie4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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