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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rising tide

There is an interesting new poll in Le Monde today, showing that 62% of French people think that having the euro has aggravated the economic crisis in France. This is compared with 28% who think that it has protected France during the crisis - and 10% who said they were undecided.

Increasing voter dissatisfaction with the euro has been on the rise for some time now - unhappy with the cost, and the principle, of the eurozone bailout which they were assured would never happen (along with all of those other assurances on the single currency which now lay by the wayside).

For example, an FT/Harris poll back in March put the number of Germans who thought they would be better off outside the euro at 40%.

Then a poll for Handelsblatt in May found that 44% of Germans wanted the D-Mark back, and 38% of the French wanted their national currency back.
What's more - it's not just those locked inside the eurozone, but potential future members which are re-thinking their position. One year ago a poll for Swedish Television found that 47% of Swedes would vote Yes in a referendum on euro membership, and 45% would vote no - a very tight result. Yet in a new poll released just two weeks ago, opposition to joining had risen to 61%, with support for joining falling to 25%.

Increasing German unhappiness at the eurozone bailout and unwillingness to continue as Europe's paymaster has been well documented in recent months.

However, the addition of a rising French tide of displeasure at the way the euro has developed adds a new twist to the narrative that the Germans have been terribly seflish in showing reticence towards the cost of bailing out other euro member states - and one that may have far-reaching consequences.

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