Euroscepticism on the rise in EU: Poll

PARIS - Euroscepticism is on the rise in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, an opinion poll published by the French daily La Croix showed Tuesday.

Most people questioned still consider membership of the 28-member European Union to be a good thing, according to the poll carried out by the Ifop institute, five years after the start of the lingering debt crisis.

However, there are growing levels of euroscepticism. In Spain, 37 per cent of respondents said EU membership was a bad thing, up from 26 per cent in June 2012, rising to 43 per cent in France (from 38 per cent), 44 per cent in eurozone powerhouse Germany (from 36 per cent)and 45 per cent in Italy (from 39 per cent).

Italy has been stuck in recession for two years and officials are forecasting the economy will contract by a 1.4 per cent overall in 2013.

In three of the four countries polled there was also a growing, though slightly smaller, minority wishing to see their country pull out of the euro common currency but in France just 33 per cent of respondents wanted to leave, down from 35 per cent in the previous year.

The Germans, who face a general election next week, were more optimistic overall than fellow EU citizens further south.

Only 31 per cent of Germans thought their nation could see its economy experience the kind of problems that have beset Greece, which has suffered six years of recession and has required two international bailouts.

That figure rose to 54 per cent among French respondents, 56 per cent in Spain and 58 per cent in Italy.

Ifop questioned about 1,000 people in each country from late August to early September.