Germans want to cut Greece loose: poll

LONDON Sun Sep 2, 2012 9:08pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Only a quarter of Germans think Greece should stay in the euro zone or get more help from other countries, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a domestic dilemma over whether or not to agree more time or money for Greece to get its 174 billion euro ($219.33 billion) second bailout back on track.

German sentiment, detailed by a Financial Times/Harris poll, stands in marked contrast to that in Italy and Spain, where respondents were far more reluctant to cut Greece loose from the euro zone.

The poll of 1,000 adults in Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Britain showed that only 26 percent of Germans believed Greece "will ever repay its bailout loans", compared with 77 percent of Italians and 57 percent of Spaniards.

Nearly half of Germans polled did not think Greece would ever be able to reform its economy sufficiently to free itself from international assistance.

While 88 percent of Italians and 70 percent of Spaniards were at least "somewhat confident" Athens could reform its economy.

Despite the divisions over Greece, adults in all four euro zone countries remained optimistic that their leaders would be able to address the problems raised by the crisis.

However, 44 percent of Britons polled said they were "not at all confident" that policy makers would address the crisis.

($1 = 0.7933 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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