Business World

Sunday 24 September 2017

Germans tiring of euro -- and they want to see Greece exit

Emma Ross-Thomas

AS their government comes under pressure to find more ways to stem Europe's debt crisis, Germany's voters are growing wearier of the euro and more want out altogether.

Germans showed the lowest support for the euro among the four largest countries using the currency, according to a poll published yesterday.

It shows that 39pc of Germans favour leaving the euro, versus 28pc of Italians, 26pc of French and 24pc of Spaniards. The survey was conducted by Ifop-Fiducial.

In all four countries, majorities said that loans to Greece will never be paid back, even as most said that not saving Greece would increase the euro region's difficulties.

In France and Germany, most of those polled said Greece should leave the euro if it can't pay back its loans, while in Italy and Spain about half shared that view.

Some 78pc of Germans and 65pc of French voters want Greece to leave the eurozone. Just over half of those polled in Spain want Greece out, while 49pc of those in Italy are in favour of booting out Greece.

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble revealed that a national referendum on further EU integration is possible. Speaking to German newspaper 'Der Spiegel', he said Europe needs to move more power to Brussels "without every national state being able to block the decisions".

He said he wants the EU Commission built into a true government alongside a stronger EU Parliament and a president elected directly by all European citizens.

"The Europe of the future won't be a federal state on the model of the US or Germany," Mr Schaeuble said.

"It will have its own structure. This is an extremely exciting experiment."

He said the weekend poll showed that "an overwhelming majority want the euro . . . and secondly it shows how much trust Greece has forfeited among Europeans."

Mr Schaeuble didn't say when a German referendum may be needed to approve the changes. He said he doesn't expect the euro area to break apart and that a dissolution of the EU would be "absurd". (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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