Friday, July 6, 2012

Germans Oppose Further Euro Crisis Bailouts

July 6, 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is well known for her opposition to further aid for crisis-stricken euro countries without additional controls, but what do German voters think? A new SPIEGEL ONLINE survey reveals that a narrow majority is opposed to any more bailouts, and almost three-quarters of Germans want stricter fiscal oversight from Brussels.

Europe is now in the third year of its sovereign debt crisis and the prospect of a breakup of the single currency no longer seems as farfetched as it once did. But from the perspective of most Germans, the euro crisis is still something that mainly affects other countries, namely Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and now Cyprus.

But although the German economy has shown itself to be surprisingly robust, with unemployment falling and tax yields rising, Germany will not be able to withstand the negative trend in the euro zone for ever. "The crisis in the euro zone is catching up with the German economy," commented Ferdinand Fichtner, chief economist at the German Institute for Economic Research, earlier this week. Indeed, the institute has just dropped its growth forecast for the German economy for 2013 from 2.4 percent to just under 2 percent.

Now, a new survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL ONLINE shows that Germans are worried about the crisis and the response by the German government. Their main concern appears to be inflation, with 69 percent of respondents saying that the prospect of significant price increases was a serious concern for them. Only 30 percent said they were not worried, while 1 percent had no clear opinion on the matter. Inflation is a hot-button issue in Germany because of memories of the hyperinflation of the inter-war years.

The survey also reveals that almost half of Germans (48 percent) are anxious about their savings, even if a narrow majority (51 percent) sees no cause for alarm. The results are similar when it comes to providing for their old age: A total of 47 percent of respondents are worried about their pensions, while 53 percent are not.


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