EU Confidence Could Be the Financial Crisis' Worst Casualty

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Merkel Draghi Jan 2013 5
ECB President Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The euro faced pressure on Tuesday morning after a new survey showed fractures widening between member states as the region's financial crisis deepened. The common currency reached above $1.30 and traded at $1.3009 at 5:47 GMT on Monday.

The Wall Street Journalreported that a poll by Pew Research Center showed that Europeans are losing faith in the European Union and distrust between member states is creating disillusionment throughout the region.

Countries facing bailout problems had a less favorable view of the eurozone, with only 46 percent of Spanish people weighing in with a positive opinion of the EU. The nation's score of less than half is 14 points lower than the previous year's result.

Perhaps the most troubling results came from France, though. The nation, which is usually lumped in with Germany as a core eurozone nation, posted results that seemed to align better with struggling southern nations. Only 22 percent of the survey's respondents believed that European economic integration was good for them, and only 41 percent had a favorable view of the EU.

By contrast, 60 percent of Germans saw the EU in a positive light and 54 percent were happy with the region's economic integration. The data highlights a widening gap between Germany and the rest of the eurozone and underscored France's rapidly declining confidence.

Public opinion, including the results of this survey, is expected to play a role in eurozone policy makers' decisions as to whether the austerity centered recovery plan is sustainable. Many are attributing the dismal survey results to record high unemployment without any direct plan for increasing hiring.

Although the results of the poll were concerning, there was one glimmer of hope among the data. The poll showed that the majority of people in each country surveyed wanted to keep the euro. The data reassured investors that most nations weren't ready to give up on the common currency, as many worried after the crisis began.

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