Schaeuble Popularity Soars as Germans Doubt Greece’s Euro Future

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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble scored his highest-ever approval rating in an ARD-DeutschlandTrend poll that identified a decline in public support for Greece remaining in the euro.

Seventy percent of Germans said they were satisfied with Schaeuble’s work, placing him second on a list of Germany’s leading politicians above Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was in third slot with 67 percent, according to the poll conducted by Infratest Dimap released Friday. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier topped the list with 73 percent approval.

Schaeuble, 72, has clashed with his Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis, over the terms of aid, and led the German government in euro-area talks with Greece until they collapsed last week. Greece has provided “no basis for talking about any serious measures” to break the deadlock, he said on July 1.

The poll of 1,001 people, conducted on June 29 and June 30, found that 57 percent of Germans said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their government’s performance, a gain of 5 percentage points on the month.

Germans were split on whether Greece should remain in the euro. Among those surveyed, 45 percent said they want Greece to stay in the 19-nation currency region and 45 percent said it should leave. That compares with 51 percent in favor of Greece staying and 41 percent against in a February survey.

Some 68 percent held the Greek government responsible for the escalation of the debt crisis, while 4 percent blamed the European Union. Both sides are to blame, 24 percent said.

Greece is right to hold a referendum on July 5 to decide whether to accept EU austerity or to reject aid, according to 60 percent of the participants. Almost 70 percent said they were concerned about the welfare of the Greek people as their country teeters on the brink of insolvency and its banking system is close to collapse.

Only 24 percent were concerned about the effects on the German economy if Greece defaults, while 19 percent said they were worried about the effect on their personal savings. The margin of error ranged from 1.4 percentage points to 3.1 percentage points.

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