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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Economic governance: a tale of two polls

A new poll published yesterday by the German Marshall Fund of the United States makes for interesting reading.

With a few exceptions, majorities in the eurozone countries said the euro has been a bad thing for their economy, including France (60%) and Germany (53%), but also Spain (53%) and Portugal (52%). Italians were divided on the benefits of the euro with 47% saying the euro has been good and 48% saying it has been bad for their economy. Only the Dutch (52%) and Slovaks (64%) had majorities saying the euro has been a good thing.

Unsurprisingly, a full 83% in the UK thought that using the euro would be a bad thing for the economy.

But perhaps just as interestingly, the poll found that a plurality of EU respondents (46%) believe that in dealing with the current economic crisis, each country’s national government should have primary responsibility. Roughly two-in-five EU respondents (39%) said that the EU should have primary responsibility for handling the current economic crisis.

Only in Germany did the majority (54%) agree that the EU should have the leading role in economic decision-making. The French were divided on the issue, with 47% saying the national government and 43% saying the EU should have the primary responsibility.

This certainly makes an interesting comparison with the Commission's recent claims that "75% of EU citizens want more European economic governance", based on a rather creative interpretation of its Eurobarometer survey, which we have debunked before. EUobserver notes that the results "sharply contradict" the European Commission's interpretation.

Respondents were only asked whether or not “a stronger coordination of economic and financial policies among all EU member states” would be effective to combat the ongoing crisis (see p. 38 here). The question didn’t even mention the role of the EU or the term “European economic governance”. The Commission got its 75 percent figure by adding up the respondents who thought that stronger coordination would be “very effective” (26 percent) and those who only thought it would be “fairly effective” (49 percent).

Herman Van Rompuy's taskforce clearly has a very difficult job on its hands if it's to convince people on the need for greater economic governance.

1 comment:

Tim Hedges said...

I disagree when you say Rompuy has a difficult job ahead of him. I don't think he gives a stuff what ordinary people think.