Germans hold better opinion of Irish than of other bailout states
GERMANS ARE much more favourably disposed to Ireland than to any of the other EU bailout countries, according to a poll carried out for The Irish Times in both countries.
The poll found a big majority of Irish people believed Germany was doing at least enough to protect the euro zone.
The unique poll was carried out by Ipsos MRBI in Germany and Ireland by telephone earlier this month. It was conducted against the background of the ongoing euro zone crisis and the pivotal role Germany will play in determining if Ireland will get further relief on its banking debt. The poll was carried out among a representative sample of 1,000 people in each country.
German respondents had a broadly positive attitude to Ireland, with just 3 per cent of them wanting us out of the EU and a majority believing Irish people worked longer hours than they do.
Asked to assess how Germany was responding to the euro zone crisis, 52 per cent of Germans said their country was doing too much; 36 per cent said they were doing just enough, 6 per cent said not enough and 6 per cent had no opinion.
On the bailout countries, 46 per cent of Germans felt Ireland was trying hard to fix its economy, 23 per cent said we should try harder and the remainder had no opinion.
By contrast, 13 per cent of Germans felt Greece was trying hard, 78 per cent felt it should try harder and 9 per cent had no opinion.
The other two bailout countries came in between. On Portugal, 32 per cent of Germans said the country was trying hard, 45 per cent said it should try harder and 23 per cent had no opinion. On Spain, 31 per cent said it was trying hard, 56 per cent said it should try harder and 13 per cent had no opinion.
Asked which, if any, of the bailout countries they felt should leave the European Union, 3 per cent said Ireland, 5 per cent said Portugal and Spain and 42 per cent said Greece.
A total of 49 per cent of German respondents said none of the bailout countries should leave the EU, while 8 per cent had no opinion.
Asked a series of questions on how they compared Ireland to Germany, 86 per cent felt Germany had a stronger economy. However, 38 per cent felt Irish people worked longer hours compared to 32 per cent who felt Germans worked longer hours, while 14 per cent believed both nationalities worked the same hours.
The poll forms part of an Irish Times series which begins today examining the unique relationship between Ireland and Germany. The series, which also runs next week examines how the two countries have become entwined like never before.
On the issue of tax, 45 per cent felt Ireland had lower taxes for workers while 11 per cent said Germany had lower taxes, while 12 per cent thought they were the same.
There was a similar view of taxes on business, with 47 per cent saying they were lower in Ireland, 11 per cent saying they were lower in Germany and 10 per cent the same.
On public sector salaries, 37 per cent felt they were higher in Germany, 18 per cent said they were higher in Ireland and 13 per cent said they were equal.
When the same questions were asked of Irish people, the response was similar on a number of issues.
Asked to assess the German response to the euro crisis, 44 per cent of Irish respondents said it was doing just enough, 20 per cent said it was being asked to do too much, 24 per cent said not enough and 11 per cent did not know.
On the performance of bailout states, 64 per cent said Ireland was trying hard while 35 per cent said we should be trying harder. Just 1 per cent had no opinion.
On Greece, 24 per cent of Irish people said it was trying hard and 69 per cent said it should try harder.
On Portugal, 40 per cent said it was trying hard and 41 per cent said it should try harder. On Spain, 38 per cent said it was trying hard and 51 per cent said it should try harder.
On whether any of these states should leave the EU, 34 per cent said Greece, 9 per cent Ireland, 5 per cent Portugal, 4 per cent Spain and 51 per cent said none should leave.