Germany and Italy are often portrayed as stereotypical antipodes in the European economic, cultural and political landscape. The Eurozone crisis seems to have exacerbated these differences. Which are the reciprocal views between Germans and Italians after the recent major shocks that invested the EU?
An interesting study conducted in 2016 by Policy Matters for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation inquires the opinion of German and Italian citizens on the EU and the reciprocal views between the two countries. The first two graphs show that while 53% of German respondents believe that Germany makes too little effort to defend their national interests within the EU, 66% of Italian surveyed citizens believe the contrary: Germany is mostly concerned in defending its national interest within the EU institutions. On the contrary, while 70% of Italians believe that the efforts made by Italy to defend its national interests are too little, only 24% of German respondents express the same opinion.
The next two graphs show how German and Italian respondents evaluate the role played by the two countries within the EU. While German respondents positively evaluate the role played by Germany within the EU, Italians are much more sceptical about it. 75% of Germans believe that their country “should assume the leadership within the EU”, but only 30% of Italians agree with this statement. On the contrary, 81% of Italians believe that “Germany is abusing power within the EU at the expense of the other member states” and 75% of them agree with a statement claiming that “in dealing with the consequences of the Eurozone crisis Germany should take into account more other member states”.
Interestingly, Italians and Germans agree in expressing a negative view about the role of Italy within the EU. 75% of Italians and 78% of Germans believe that “most of the economic problems of Italy should be ascribed to Italy itself”. Furthermore, 70% of Italians and 80% of Germans believe that “Italy makes too little efforts in reforming its economy and institutions”. However, Germans seem to have more confidence in the Italian role than what Italians do. 78% respondents believe that “Italy is making more efforts than the other member states to deal with the refugee issue”, and 67% argue that “Italy should play a more important role within the EU”. Confronted with the same statements, only 46% and 42% of Italians agree.
This infographic is part of a series investigating the controversial role of Germany and its leadership among EU citizens.
Photo Credits CC Simon & His Camera
Also published on Medium.