Germans still positive on Ireland despite euro zone crisis

Sat, Aug 25, 2012, 01:00

OPINION POLL:Most Irish people believe EU’s largest and most powerful state is doing what it can for euro zone

THE REMARKABLE feature of the Irish Times poll on German/ Irish attitudes is just how well the relationship between the states has survived the euro zone crisis.

It appears a substantial majority of Germans have retained a positive view of Ireland despite the fact that they believe they are being asked to do too much for the euro zone.

The other side of the equation is that a clear majority of Irish people have not been influenced by the anti-German rhetoric emanating from a range of politicians and high-profile media commentators.

The evidence of the poll is that a substantial majority of people in Ireland believe “our gallant allies in Europe” are doing what they can for the euro zone.

People in both countries have very similar views on which of the bailout states are, or are not, trying hard enough to fix their economies.

The Germans rate Ireland far higher than any of the other bailout countries and, not surprisingly, we also rate ourselves higher than the other troubled countries.

In both countries a majority of two to one believe Ireland is trying hard to fix the economy. Surprisingly, a greater percentage of Irish people than Germans believe that we should be trying harder to fix our economic mess.

People in both countries firmly agree that Greece is not trying hard enough, while they each have a more benign view of Portugal and Spain.

In the case of both these countries a significant minority of Irish and German people believe that they are doing enough, but a majority in both countries take the view they should try harder.

There were also remarkably similar responses in Germany and Ireland about which country, if any, should leave the European Union as a result of the crisis.

Just 3 per cent of Germans thought Ireland should leave, while 9 per cent of Irish people thought we should go. That figure probably represents the hardline Eurosceptic minority in Ireland who believe we would be better off outside the EU.

There was broad agreement in both countries about what should happen to the other bailout countries: 42 per cent of Germans and 34 per cent of Irish people think Greece should leave the EU, but very small numbers of both countries would like to see an exit by Spain or Portugal.

One very interesting feature of the poll is 49 per cent of Germans don’t want to see any of the bailout countries leaving the EU in spite of the fact that a majority of them, 52 per cent, believe that their country is being asked to do too much for the euro zone.