July 11, 2012

Are Germans really opposed to bailouts?

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refusal to dig deep to help indebted eurozone countries is commonly explained by two feelings attributed to German voters – an ingrained fear of inflation and a reluctance to bail out those in trouble. But polling by the Pew Research Center in the US suggests the picture is more complex, says Bruce Stokes, Director of Pew Global Economic Attitudes

Special to BBC News

Spanish borrowing costs are back up over 7% for 10-year bonds and Italian costs are over 6%, levels that many financial analysts think are unsustainable. The euro has fallen in value to $1.23. And the European Union has accelerated its bailout of Spanish banks.

The initial positive global financial market reaction to the most recent European Union efforts to tame the euro crisis lasted for less than a week. Europe is clearly not out of the woods yet.

If more action is needed, all eyes will be on Germany and on German chancellor Angela Merkel. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center suggests that the German public is ready to give Merkel more room for manoeuvre than is generally recognised. But Merkel’s problem is with her conservative political base.

Contrary to the eurosceptic headlines in Germany’s tabloid press, the German people are more pro-European than most of their counterparts in eight European nations surveyed by Pew Research in late March of this year.

Read the full commentary at BBC News