Global Economics

Poll Shows French Turning Against Euro


In France, 52% of the people say abandoning the franc five years ago hurt the country, which suggests they blame the euro for low economic growth and price hikes

A majority of French people believe the switch to the euro five years ago was bad for their country, according to a recent poll, which suggests the French blame the common European currency for damaging economic growth and causing price hikes.

The TNS-Sofres survey published on Wednesday (27 December) by Le Pelerin magazine showed 52 percent of respondents said giving up the franc for the euro has been "quite bad" or "very bad" for France, up from 45 percent three years ago in a similar survey.

Fifty-one percent of the 1000 participants in the telephone poll said the single currency has been mainly harmful for economic prospects while 94 percent were convinced the euro has fuelled inflation.

These views come hand in hand with recent criticism expressed by French political leaders.

The presidential front-runners for next April's elections, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, have both criticised the European Central Bank for harming economic growth with a series of interest rates increases.

Opinion trends similar across eurozone

Meanwhile, some opinions held by the French resemble those of their counterparts in other eurozone countries, five years after the euro coins and notes were introduced.

While a quarter of all French still think in francs "the whole time" when shopping - the TNT-Sofres poll showed - national currencies are used for calculations in major purchases most often by the Belgians (65%), by the Dutch (57%) and by Austrians (55%), according to a Eurobarometer poll published ahead of the 5th anniversary.

In Portugal, Germany and Italy about half or less use the euro as a mental benchmark for small shopping such as in grocery stores - on the other hand, 91 percent of the Irish use the euro only for such calculations.

The special Eurobarometer poll also suggested that the single currency is still influencing consumer habits across the eurozone with a third of citizens saying they buy less because of a fear of spending too much - but this number has dropped by 6 percent since 2005.

Altogether, the special survey found the lowest rate of approval for the euro since its introduction.

"While in 2002, 59% of the respondents in the eurozone thought that the new currency was overall advantageous for their country, currently only less than half of respondents hold such a favourable opinion," it concluded.

The euro is currently used in 12 EU countries and Slovenia will become the 13th eurozone member on 1 January.

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