Nearly half of Germans want Greece to leave euro: poll

BERLIN Tue Jun 5, 2012 9:05am EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Nearly half of Germans want Greece to leave the euro zone and a third is very afraid that the country's debt crisis could threaten the euro, a poll in Stern magazine showed on Tuesday,

According to a survey of 1,001 Germans conducted by Forsa research institute, 49 percent of those polled want Greece to quit the single currency while 39 percent want it to stay.

Nearly two thirds want German Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep insisting that Greece stick to agreed austerity measures despite growing criticism of this course in other euro zone countries such as France, the poll said.

The Greek election on June 17, the second in two months, is widely seen as a referendum on whether the debt-laden country should stay in the euro zone and press on with painful reforms or leave and go back to its old drachma currency.

Polls suggest the vote could go either way, with support for pro- and anti-austerity parties finely balanced.

In Tuesday's survey, nearly two thirds of Germans expressed a lack of understanding for those Greeks who want to vote for opponents of austerity measures.

A third said they would have second thoughts about spending their holidays in Greece at the moment.

Greece's income from tourism dropped 15 percent in the first quarter, with fewer holidaymakers from Germany and Britain, Greece's biggest tourist markets.

(Reporting By Sarah Marsh, editing by Gareth Jones)

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