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Study: Many Germans believe they are worse off in euro

By Barry Neild, CNN
updated 11:33 AM EST, Fri December 9, 2011
A poll reveals Germans have mixed feelings about the euro.
A poll reveals Germans have mixed feelings about the euro.
  • Poll: 42% of Germans say their economy worse off under euro
  • Study commissioned by CNN shows Greeks, Portuguese, Irish more positive
  • Germans also largely opposed to concept of a more federal Europe

(CNN) -- Almost half of German people believe that their country's economy would be in a better position today if it hadn't joined the euro, according to the findings of a survey commissioned by CNN.

About the same number of Germans is also opposed to a more tight-knit "United States of Europe," along lines favored by their leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel. The concept enjoys stronger backing in poorer countries such as Spain and Greece, the study found.

The research conducted by ComRes and released on a day that saw European leaders agree to strengthen financial ties to ward off financial crisis, shows opinions broadly divided along lines of national wealth across the continent.

Read more about the eurozone's new deal

While wealthier nations, including France and Germany, express negative views towards the health of their economies within the 17-nation eurozone, bail-out recipients such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal have a generally positive view.

Asked if their country's economy would be in a better position today had it not joined the euro, 42% of Germans and an identical number of French agreed, while fewer disagreed.

Just 33% agreed in Greece, 27% in Ireland and 36% in Portugal, with all three countries showing strong support for greater European financial cooperation.

However, German ambivalence towards the single currency is highlighted by another question that reveals 47% in favor of their country's decision to join the euro. Similar support is seen in Spain, with 49%, Ireland with 54%, Italy with 52% and Portugal with 47%.

Questioned about a move towards a more federal Europe, 64% of people polled in Spain and 49% in Greece said they would like to see further powers centralized, while only 36% of Germans and 35% of French agreed.

Other findings from the poll, which interviewed 1,429 adults in seven European countries earlier this month, include:

•European opinion is split over whether to remain in the euro. Most Italians think they should continue to be a member indefinitely. Only 34% of French people polled are in favor.

•Across Europe, people are more likely to trust EU officials than politicians or officials in their own country.

•More then 8 in 10 people agree eurozone countries need to work together to ensure the euro survives.

View full details of the CNN/ComRes euro crisis poll here

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