Adults in Five Largest European Countries Unable to Name Current European Council President


A recent Financial Times/Harris Poll in the five largest European countries looks at the upcoming elections in the European Union and in Germany, as well as the power of the Commission President.

Next year, the EU will choose both a new European Commission President and European Council President. Hopefully the new presidents will be more memorable than the current ones, as both are still fairly unknown as their terms come to an end. Only a majority of Italians (54%) can name Jose Manuel Barroso as the Commission President, compared to 38% of Spaniards, 32% of French adults, 28% of Germans and just 8% of British adults. Even less well-known is Herman Van Rompuy, as just three in ten Italians (30%) and much fewer Spanish (16%), French (15%), German (14%) and British (4%) adults can name him as the European Council President.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 5,206 adults aged 16-64 in France (1,013), Germany (1,040), Great Britain (1,073) and Spain (1,025), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,055),between October 8 and 14, 2013. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

Some other findings of this survey include:

  • Looking ahead to the forthcoming elections, there is a growing rise of Euro-sceptic candidates. However, more than half of Germans (54%), almost half of Italians (46%) and more than two in five Spaniards (44%) and French (42%) say they are unlikely to vote for such a candidate in either the European parliament elections or local elections. British adults are a little more divided, as two in five (39%) say they are neither likely nor unlikely to vote for a Euro-sceptic candidate, while 36% are unlikely to do so and 25% are likely to do so;
  • When it comes to Angela Merkel’s re-election, two-thirds of French adults (67%), three in five British adults (60%) and 56% of Germans all believe her re-election would be good for their country. Almost three in five Italians (58%) and 70% of Spaniards, however, think her re-election would be bad for their country;
  • Moving beyond the individual countries, two-thirds of German (67%) and French (68%) adults and 61% of Britons believe that Angela Merkel’s re-election would be good for Europe. Again, over half of Italians (55%) and almost two-thirds of Spaniards (64%) think her re-election would be bad for Europe;
  • When the new European Commission President is elected, over half of Italians (58%) and Germans (54%) believe that this new President should be more powerful than the incumbent, Jose Manuel Barroso. Two-thirds of British adults (67%) believe he should be less powerful than the incumbent. Spaniards are closely divided, with 51% saying less powerful and 49% saying the new President should be more powerful, and French adults are evenly divided, with 50% each saying more and less powerful;
  • Two-thirds of British adults (66%), over half of Spaniards (56%) and half of Germans (51%) say they would have a more positive view of the EU if it had fewer powers than it does now, while over half of Italians (56%) and French (57%) say they would not. Strong majorities in all five countries (between 60% in Spain and 83% in Great Britain) all say the EU governments should be able to restrict rights to benefits for citizens from other EU member states; and,
  • When it comes to Romanians and Bulgarians being given full rights to work in any other EU member state starting in January, 2014, three in five Spaniards (61%) and Italians (63%) approve of this, while 64% of Britons, 63% of French and 58% of Germans disapprove.
All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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