As the coronavirus has brought further attention to the state of the European Union and its ability to respond to the crisis, members of the German public broadly support the bloc according to our latest poll of 1,500 in Germany conducted on Sunday and Monday. A decent majority of respondents to our poll expressed having a positive view for the European Union with slightly less than a quarter of respondents stating that they had a negative view of the EU.
Even so, this scale of support decreases the more sophisticated the question. When asked what they thought about specific institutions that make up the EU, specifically the European Parliament and the ECB, respondents were somewhat less enthusiastic.
Moreover, thinking about specific issues and how the European Union was dealing with them, less than a plurality of respondents expressed approval.
In fact, a plurality of respondents tended to express neither approval nor disapproval with how the European Union dealt with its affairs, indicating that the German public perhaps did not have strong feelings about how the EU responded to events.
Thinking about whether being a member of the European Union makes Germany stronger or weaker, respondents were even more noncommittal.
But they were somewhat more likely to believe that the institution made Europe altogether stronger. In that sense, their positive view of the institution may come from a certain lens that does not calculate the costs and benefits for their country in particular, but a lens that may seek solidarity with other Europeans.
At the same time, however, respondents were split as to whether the EU understood the needs of its citizens.
Such tension indicates that the German public’s support for the EU, while high at the surface level, may not be as unwavering as it seems. Perhaps, this difference between surface level popularity and deeper indifference can explain, in part, why Germany struggles to fully wield its influence in the bloc and commit to certain actions that would strengthen it.