How is the feeling of the European citizens towards Germany and its leadership? Are there cross-country differences? Do the Eurozone and the refugee crises influence the views of European citizens?


The PEW Research Center with its Global Attitudes Survey conducted every year since the beginning of the 2000s provides an insight into these controversial issues. Across the surveyed countries, Germany is overwhelmingly seen in a positive light. With the exception of Greece, where the percentage of citizens who expressed a favourable view of Germany is around 20%, in all the other countries, from 2002 to 2017, the share of respondents who expressed a positive feeling towards Germany was always over 50%. However, apart from the same Germany and, quite surprisingly, Greece, in all the other countries the share of respondents with a favourable view decreased after the peak of the sovereign debt crisis in 2011.


We detect more differences across countries if we look at the level of confidence in the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. In 2017, data show the presence of two blocks. On one side, Germany, France and the United Kingdom where the level of confidence in Angela Merkel reaches an average level of 76%. On the other side, we find Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain where, on average, only 39% of respondents have confidence in how Merkel is dealing with the world affairs. Again, with the exception of Germany and Greece, in all the other countries the level of confidence in the conduct of Angela Merkel decreased after the peaks of the Eurozone crisis (2012) and the refugee crisis (2016).


The same picture occurs when it comes to the Germany’s influence in the EU decision making. On average, 70% of respondents in Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain believe that Germany has too much influence in the EU decision making, while slightly more than 50% of citizens in France, Germany and the UK consider that Germany has about the right amount of influence. However, apart from Germany, in all the other six countries only a very small share of citizens (5% on average) believes that Germany has too little sway in the EU.

This infographic is part of a series investigating the controversial role of Germany and its leadership among EU citizens.

Photo Credits CC Frank Nürnberger  

Download PDF

Also published on Medium.

Leave a comment
  • Facebook