It is believed that Germany and its leadership play a hegemonic role in the EU institutions affecting decisions and policies taken at the EU level. But which is the relationship between Germany and the EU? Given the pivotal role of their country, are Germans more supportive of the EU than citizens from other member states?
Eurobarometer data show that the general level of attachment to the EU felt by Germans at the beginning of 2000s (41.2%) was slightly lower than both the mean EU level (45.2%) and the average value of Southern EU countries (46.1%).
However, the Germans’ feeling of attachment to the EU constantly increased since 2002 overcoming the other values. Differently from the EU and especially the Southern countries, it remained quite constant (around 50%) even during the turbulent years of the sovereign debt crisis.
Although the German, the EU and the Southern EU values all increased after 2014, in May 2017 the share of Germans who felt themselves attached to the EU was 63.5%, whereas this proportion in Mediterranean countries was 48.1%.
The trend is similar if we look at the share of people claiming that their country has on balance benefited of being a member of the EU. During the 1990s and the first 2000s the share of Germans who felt their country has benefited from EU membership was much lower than the average value in all the EU member states and, above all, in Southern European countries. In 1998 this gap was higher than 26%.
The share of German respondents expressing a positive feeling towards the EU membership started to increase with the introduction of the single currency, when the role of Germany became increasingly stronger, but only after the peak of the sovereign debt crisis (2011) it overcame the average Southern EU value.
This infographic is part of a series investigating the controversial role of Germany and its leadership among EU citizens.
Photo Credits CC
Also published on Medium.