General pessimism surrounding the economic crisis and skepticism regarding governmental capacity to effectively address it exists among European citizenss in France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom, according to an opinion survey conducted by APCO Worldwide in partnership with French radio station BFM and French daily newspaper La Tribune.
The survey set out to measure the impact of the economic and financial crises and related expectations for the G20 summit among a general population of 3,000 European citizens. A majority (57 percent) of respondents said they believe the situation in their respective country will continue to deteriorate, and 41 percent considered their government’s efforts to manage the crisis “quite bad.”
While some respondents (35 percent) do expect limited actions and answers from their government on narrow issues (such as the regulation of the banking sector), they remain pessimistic on its capacity to address broader ones, such as the development of a new ethics for capitalism or global reform of the financial system.
“Unemployment and cost of living are having the strongest impact on perceptions of the current crisis,” says Brad Staples, chief executive officer of APCO Worldwide’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region. “The consistently somber news related to job losses and increasing expenses are framing the views of many European citizens.”
The three most widely-cited expectations for the G20 summit centered on regulation for CEO compensation and benefits, the implementation of a European-wide economic recovery plan and the regulation of tax havens. Fewer than half of respondents believe the G20 is the correct forum to identify appropriate solutions to these issues.
Other findings included:
· 54 percent of Europeans surveyed suggest they would support the implementation of protectionist measures, a trend especially visible in Italy (64 percent of Italian respondents would support protectionist measures) and Poland (74 percent).
· 32 percent of Europeans surveyed believe Europe follows U.S. orders on economic issues, while 33 percent think European countries are able to influence U.S. policy.
· Germany is considered by its European neighbors as the country most able to limit the impact of the crisis, while Italians and Poles tend to believe their country is threatened by a serious recession in the coming months.
· A majority of respondents think EU member states are taking measures nationally, without seeking coordination.