A new study from Bertelsmann Stiftung indicates that although a slim majority of Germans want Germany to remain in the European Union almost two thirds think it would be better if Germany were to abandon the euro and go back to the Deutschmark, a position I defended last month.
Only 52 percent of Germans claim to have benefitted from the 27-member European Union.
Attitudes towards the single currency are worse, with two thirds of Germans saying that they would be better off outside of the single currency. In Poland, another country profiled in the study, attitudes towards the euro are more worrying for those arguing for European integration.
Polish attitudes are more skeptical of the euro than the Germans, with only close to 20 percent of Poles in favor of joining the single currency. Although the Poles are wary of the single currency they are in favor of EU membership, with which they can freely move to other member states.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the survey is the question on European identity. From euobserver:
One question the tree (sic) countries diverged on was about "European identity," with 66 percent of Poles saying they could imagine what it is, while only 26 percent of the French said it meant something to them. Germans were somewhere in between, at 44 percent.
The Treaty of Rome (the founding document of the European Economic Community) begins:
His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, the President of the French Republic, the President of the Italian Republic, Her Royal Highness and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands,
DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe,
The Maastricht Treaty, which paved the way for the euro, includes the following in its preamble:
RESOLVED to mark a new stage in the process of European integration undertaken with the establishment of the European Communities,
RECALLING the historic importance of the ending of the division of the European continent and the need to create firm bases for the construction of the future Europe,
Given the figures above it seems that “an ever closer union” and “European integration” are still a long way from being realized, least of all accepted. Turns out you need more than an anthem, a motto, and a parliament to generate identity.