BRUSSELS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Popular support for European Union membership has fallen to a nine-year low within the 27 countries in the bloc, a poll showed on Thursday.
The yearly Eurobarometer survey was carried out in May when the EU was hit by sovereign-debt problems and when some member states were in recession.
According to the poll, conducted by the TNS Opinion and Social research group for the European Commission, support for EU membership fell to 49 percent, down 4 percentage points, and highlighted fears that the economy will deteriorate further.
The poll asked an average 1,000 people in each member state whether membership of the EU was a good thing, a bad thing or neither good nor bad for their country. Those voting for ‘bad’ rose to 18 percent from 15 percent last year.
In Germany, the EU’s biggest economy and traditionally pro-EU, support for the bloc fell 10 points to 50 percent. Many Germans have opposed EU-led bailouts for euro zone countries.
Some analysts and politicians have said EU institutions and governments were too slow to react to the worst economic crisis in decades and especially to Greek debt problems, which have threatened to undermine the euro.
In Greece, support for the EU fell 17 points to 44 percent. The bailout for Greece, offered by the EU and the International Monetary Fund, came with strict austerity measures.
Trust in EU institutions fell to 42 percent from 48 percent, but it was still higher than confidence in national parliaments, which came in at 31 percent, down from 30 percent last year.
On the general economic situation, the percentage of those who believe the worst was to come increased by one point to 55 percent, while 37 believed the crisis had reached its peak. (Editing by David Brunnstrom and Nina Chestney)