The public’s confidence in the European Union has plummeted to an historic low in the six biggest EU nations, raising questions about its democratic legitimacy as the crisis that has seen millions of Europeans lose their jobs and struggle to survive continues.
According to a survey carried out by Eurobarometer, the EU’s polling organisation the six countries surveyed- France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland shows that peoples trust in the Union has plummeted.
“The damage is so deep that it does not matter whether you come from a creditor, debtor country, Euro would-be member or the UK: everybody is worse off,” said José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the European Council on Foreign Relation’s Madrid office. “Citizens now think that their national democracy is being subverted by the way the euro crisis is conducted.”
The largest decline in faith in the EU has occurred in Spain where the banking and housing market collapse, Eurozone bailout and soaring unemployment caused 72% of surveyed Spaniards saying that they do not trust the EU. Only 20% said they did.
It’s no wonder Spaniards are or have lost faith in the Euro dream. Today’s latest unemployment figures out of the country show that the jobless rate has soared to a new record high of 27.2% of its workforce now out of work. The total number of people unemployed in the country has now surpassed the six million mark.
“These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy,” said Jose Luis Martinez, strategist at Citi.
The unemployment figure is now at its highest level since the 1970’s. Adding to Spain’s woes is the news that the International Monetary Fund has cut its 2013 forecast for Spain’s growth. Instead the nation is expected to show a 1.6% contraction and expects the unemployment rate to rise to 27% by the end of 2013.
The Euro has shown signs of weakness against the majority of its peers as the Eurozone economy continues to post disappointing economic data. Yesterday’s data out of Germany has spooked investors as the Euro crisis shows signs of finally reaching the heart of the region.
As of 10:35 am GMT
The Euro to Pound Sterling exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 0.8466
The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.3059
The Euro to Australian Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.2661
The Euro to New Zealand Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.5299