BRUSSELS: Germany is the only country among eight surveyed with a “growing majority” saying European Union ties have helped the domestic economy, according to a report prepared by the Pew Research Centre.

“The Germans are the strongest supporters of both European economic integration and the European Union,” according to the report, released in Brussels on Tuesday. “Only in Germany is there a growing majority that believes integration has been an economic boon for the nation.”

Europeans oppose further budget cuts to deal with the financial crisis and they don’t want to strengthen the EU’s oversight powers, researchers said. In the five euro nations surveyed, the single currency wasn’t widely seen as a “good thing”, nor did survey participants want out.

“Europeans who now use the euro have no desire to abandon it and return to their former currency,” according to the study.

“Minuscule numbers” of Greeks, Spaniards and Italians believe their country is on the right course, and satisfaction in Spain, at 10 per cent, is 41 percentage points lower than a previous study in 2007.

Researchers also found that Germany is the most admired nation in the 27-nation EU, with Chancellor Angela Merkel the most respected leader.

The survey polled 9,108 respondents from March 17 to April 16 in eight countries: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. Poland, which doesn’t use the euro, was the only country where more than half of respondents had a favourable view of the European Central Bank.

Greece was the EU’s biggest critic, and none of the other nations said they viewed Greece in a positive light. Greece was also the least optimistic nation surveyed, with only nine per cent saying they expect economic improvements during next year.

By arrangement with Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service

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