Postcard from... Brussels


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The Independent Online


When the Washington-based think-tank, Pew Research, put out its latest study of attitudes in Europe this week, attention was at first drawn to the sobering news that support for the EU had plummeted even further as the continent grapples with crisis and economic hardship.

But reading a little deeper into the survey of more than 7,500 people in eight European nations, and some more interesting insights emerged. Guess who the Greeks think are Europe’s most trustworthy people? While all the other countries plumped for the continent’s paymasters, Germany, the Greeks had another nation in mind – themselves, obviously.

Some may find that a slightly arrogant point of view, but the Greeks didn’t think so: they named Germany the most arrogant nation, not hugely surprising given that many blame Berlin for the austerity measures which have left many without a job or struggling on minuscule pensions.

Respondents in Italy, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic all agreed that Germany was a little too big for its boots, but the French showed a remarkable amount of self-awareness by voting themselves the most arrogant nation in Europe

The British and the Germans, naturally, agreed. The Brits, meanwhile, were not immune to a little boasting. Asked which nation was most compassionate, and which the least arrogant, UK respondents named themselves in both categories. In fact, “Most Compassionate” was the only category where every single country surveyed decided they were most deserving of the accolade.