Can the Euro survive the crisis?

Guest post by Jimmy Kane

There is a crisis of confidence in the Euro

A wide-ranging survey of public opinion found Tuesday that there is a wide dislike of the Euro, but there is little desire to abandon it. The contempt was brought through the debt crisis that has ravaged Europe for the best part of three years.

Pew Research Center, who conducted the survey across eight European Union countries (among them, Spain, Greece, France and Italy), learned that the regions financial woes were the catalyst for full-blown fears about the future of Europe’s economic climate.

Pew said in a statement accompanying its survey, “This crisis of confidence is evident in the economy, in the future, in the benefits of European economic integration, in EU membership, in the euro and in the free market system.”

In spite of these wide-eyed concerns, Pew discovered there was no desire for those countries that use the euro to return to their former currencies, such as the Spanish peseta or the French franc.

Greece, called by many the epicenter of the debt crisis, revealed 71 percent of those polled want to keep the euro around, as against the 23 percent that wish for a return to the Drachma. Most people in Greece, which is now its fifth year and counting of restless, violent recession, believe the euro is doing more good than bad. 46 percent of those surveyed said so, compared to 26 percent who thought the euro was a curse, rather than a blessing.

What makes these finding so important involves Greece’s upcoming polls on June 17, which many see as a referendum on the country’s euro membership.

In contrast, most in France, Italy and Spain think the euro has been more destructive than helpful. In Italy in particular, which has the second highest debt burden in the eurozone after Greece, 44 percent of Italians surveyed think the euro has been a terrible thing, compared to the mere 30 percent convinced it was benevolent. Italy is also filled with the largest anti-euro constituency, with around 40 percent of those polled wishing to resort back to the lira. 52 percent of those surveyed still want to keep the euro around.

Of the five euro countries polled, not a single one had a majority (that is, over 50 percent) that agreed the introduction of the euro has been beneficial.

These surveys were conducted either by telephone in some countries or face-to-face in others between mid-March and mid-April, with at the very least, over 1000 people surveyed in each region. The margin of error varies from country to country, but stays at about 3.3 percent to 4.4 percent.

Jimmy Kane is an avid traveler and Spanish real estate hobbyist. When he’s not traveling or studying the Spanish property market, he maintains the website Time Warner Cable Dallas.