Germany and Italy share several historical and political commonalities and have intense cultural and economic relationships. At the same time, the reciprocal view between these two countries is characterised by long-held stereotypes and prejudices. Has the recent Eurozone crisis exacerbated the stereotypes between German and Italians?
An interesting study conducted in 2016 by Policy Matters for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation provides interesting data on reciprocal views held of each other by Germans and Italians. As the first graph shows, German respondents express high self-esteem. They see themselves as diligent, disciplined, cautious and scrupulous. At the same time, they also consider themselves Europeanist, cosmopolitan, accommodating and flexible. However, while Italian respondents echo some of the self-evaluations expressed by their German counterparts—recognising Germans as serious, diligent, disciplined and scrupulous—they have a completely different view about other attributes. They consider Germans to be nationalists, instead of Europeanists, and individualists. Moreover, they believe that Germans lack flexibility and generosity.
Turning to the evaluations of the Italians, we note that their self-image tends to coincide with the judgments Germans make of them. Italians are seen as not particularly disciplined, and neither cautious nor scrupulous, but as creative and accommodating. Even though the Italians’ and Germans’ evaluations are largely in line, on one particular point they tend to disagree: while German respondents consider Italians to be nationalists (44%), Italians see themselves as (moderate) Europeanists (58%).
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.