Most Germans oppose euro, French also losing faith: polls

BERLIN/PARIS Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:50am EDT

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - Nearly two thirds of Germans think their country would be better off without the euro and French support for the currency is slipping, although the French are much more reluctant to imagine life without it, two polls showed on Monday.

Sixty five percent of Germans think they would be better off without the euro, according to a poll published by German newspaper Die Welt, reflecting growing unease in Europe's biggest economy at having to bankroll bailouts of troubled economies such as Greece.

Forty nine percent of Germans also believe Germany would be better off if it was not in the European Union, according to the poll by TNS Emnid poll.

In France, there is more support for the single currency - only 36 percent of people thought the country would do better if it was not in the euro zone, the survey showed. However, a separate poll published by French daily Le Figaro found that while 65 percent of French opposed ditching the euro, 64 percent would reject the Maastricht treaty that led to the creation of the euro if they had to vote on it today.

The French approved the treaty in 1992 with only 51 percent voting in favor.

Both surveys - the German survey was conducted in July by TNS Emnid and the French survey was conducted by Ifop on September 11-13 - showed the euro as a source of frustration for people in the two countries that spearheaded the currency union and were founding members of the European Union more than 50 years ago.

Germans fear successive financial bailouts of weaker euro zone countries may erode their savings.

The proportion of French voters who view the euro as a handicap has risen to 45 percent, from 34 percent in a poll in August 2010, according to Ifop.

French support for further European integration has fallen in the past year, according to Ifop, with the share of people saying they want less integration and more national control of budgets and economic policy rising to 60 percent, from 48 percent in a similar poll a year ago.

The French were more positive than the Germans about the general benefits of membership of the European Union, which includes the 17 members of the euro zone, but the French poll showed that a large majority of respondents think the euro has exacerbated inflation and unemployment and dented France's global competitiveness.

The share of French people opposed to Turkey joining the EU has surged too, to 84 percent from 60 percent a year ago, the Ifop results showed.

(Reporting by Brian Love in Paris and Stephen Brown in Berlin; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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