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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Public support for the EU drops by 16% in one month: is popular support for the euro in Greece finally about to wane?

As we've noted in the past, a factor that will determine whether the eurozone can hang together in the long term is the extent to which the public in the South begins to see the euro and EU austerity as synonymous.

For example, despite everything that has taken place in Greece, this has not been the case, with a majority of Greeks consistently in favour of remaining inside the euro. The choice is instead perceived as being between austerity or some form of alternative. This is why we rightly predicted that Greece would remain inside the euro following its hectic dual elections last year (at a point when many analysts were predicting an imminent Grexit).

But is this now starting to change? 


A new Public Issue poll shows that 66% of Greeks now have a "negative opinion" about the EU. For a country that has traditionally has been staunchly pro-EU, that's bad enough. But extraordinarily, when the same question was asked only a month ago, 'only' 50% of respondents said that had a negative opinion  about the EU- a massive 16% increase in only a month, possibly owing to the handling of the Cypriot bailout and the renewed Troika push for civil service cuts in Greece. Those with a positive view dropped from 48% to 31% in the same space (see the graph below).

A separate poll by Marc for Alpha TV asked the question, “In case it’s not possible to improve the conditions of the loan agreement, what do you think we should do?” 53.8% answered "remain in the EU and the euro", while 41.3% said they wanted to "leave the EU and return to the drachma" (4.9% don't know). Note that this was a question about leaving the EU, not only the eurozone. Whilst still a majority in favour of sticking around, to our knowledge, there has been no Greek opinion poll to date with such a large share in favour of leaving the euro and the EU.

Incidentally, the Public Issue poll also asked who respondents wanted to see as Prime Minister. Top candidate? “None”. (see graph)

We're not drawing any firm conclusion from this, although if this trend continues it will be significant. Currently a majority of Greeks believe that things "would be worse" outside the euro. It's worth listening to our interview with leading German economist Hans-Werner Sinn, which we published today, on the prospects for Greece in the euro. One thing is clear: this won't be easy.


Denis Cooper said...

Pity the Greeks weren't asked about leaving the euro while staying in the EU.

But as we know that is an option which has been deliberately denied under the EU treaties, and there is not really any prospect that the "all EU member states must join the euro and come under my rule" Empress Angela will agree to that being changed as suggested by the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte.

Rollo said...

The Greeks are catching up with the UK

Anonymous said...

The mood is changing and it may be that the degree of pain and the sudden realisation of the damage done by the EU in the southern EU states might cause a bigger impact than the more gradual change in opinion in Britain. Perhaps in Britain the public have become too willing to tolerate the damage because we have lived with it for so long. In the new EU states they were still believers in Father Christmas until recently and actually thought all the pro-EU/EZ spin was reality.

Similarly, the fact that an anti-Euro party can become established in Germany after all this time might actually signal a re-awakening among Germans, for which we should all be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Polls mean nothing when it comes to the survival of the EUSSR.

Simply put: The Eurofascists pushing the EUSSR and the Euro don't care at all what the people in the 27 "member" EU starts think about anything.

They are fascists and they are rabid UoE zealots.

Nothing but physically ejecting from Brussels and elsewhere is going to change the direction they have imposed on us all.

Anonymous said...

There's no rule saying all EU members must adopt the euro. The UK and Denmark have clear opt-outs and the treaty claims that they will not be forced to adopt it.

Trouble is that the UK is committed to an overwhelming proportion of other EMU obligations, like having to run our economy for the benefit of the EU as a whole.

I can't understand the mentality of those who would just be content with repatriating a few powers on emploment and social affairs.

christina speight said...

Open Europe is asleep it seems.

It has totally missed the revolt by the Cypriot parliament which has decided to have a fundamental vote on the whole bail-out package - Remember they threw it out last time. The President wants =a rejection as does the Church and a Green says it transforms Cyprus to a colony. And so you worry that the EU's approval rate has slumped by a further 16%, Wrong priority in your emphasis I think.

You've also missed the lie put out yesterday by a German minister that Germany prospers as a result of being in the euro. Of course it does - that's why its exports are booming because of the cheap euro (courtesy the helots in greece., Italy, spain, Portugal and (soon) France) It can undercut its competitors on the backs of the bailed-out serfs.

Open Europe blog team said...

@ Christina

Many thanks for the comment. Far from missing it, we had the story as one of the leads in our daily press summary yesterday: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Article/Page/en/LIVE?id=11236&page=PressSummary

Although, it always seemed to us that a vote in the Cypriot parliament was necssary. The outcome so far is certainly unclear and we'll be keeping a close eye on it.

David Barneby said...

The support for remaining in the Euro in impoverished countries , I believe lies in the concept that the Euro in your pocket is still worth the same as in German , French or other states . The return to the Drachma or Lira is seen as total failure that will make people think their money is suddenly worth nothing .
Cyprus should definitely default and leave the Euro , as for the EU , who needs enemies when you have friends like the EU .
These impoverished countries have been ruined by the Euro fixed value and ability to borrow at 1%.
Leaving the Euro , devaluing is the only way forward for the countries to find economic growth .
If there leaving the Euro causes it to fail , the better for everyone and Germany needs to trade at her correct value as per the Deutchmark . The EU has become a monster and a disaster and its time everyone woke up to the fact .

Gosporttory said...

Well said David Barneby, I couldn't put it better myself!

I cannot wait for the day that the entire Gravy Train implodes let alone the doomed eurozone.

Rik said...

Austerity fatigue usually hits in approx 2 years after the first steps research shows.
With Greece we are at 2-2.5 years now. Combined that austerity hardly shows results on the ground.

So not an unlogical timing in that respect. Problem for the Greeks that the alternative is worse than usual. Getting out of the EZ and likely the EU at the same time, makes it not much better looking than say Rumenia which is still several steps further down in standard of living.

Who is going to invest in a non-EU country like post-Euro Greece while what it offers looks costs wise several times worse than China and Co but also than Rumenia and Bulgaria (and turkey). While in all those alternatives the economy is growing or at least not collapsing and the social situation is a lot more quiet?