German Chancellor Angela Merkel – already under fire for having opened Europe’s doors to refugees in 2015 – is now facing criticism for having too much influence within the EU, according to a new poll.
A majority of people in Greece, Italy, Spain and Poland believe Germany exerts too much influence over EU decision making, according to new research by Pew. The feeling is strongest in Greece, where 89 percent of respondents said Germany’s influence was too great.
The migrant crisis has thrown the EU into disarray, with Merkel backing Brussels in calling for a mandatory quota system to relocate refugees given asylum. Many — especially in Eastern Europe — are against the plan.
Her personally-brokered deal to press Turkey to stem the flow of migrants leaving its shores for Europe has also hit the buffers. Contingent on the deal was the acceleration of Turkey’s accession into the EU, as well as visa-free access into Europe for its citizens.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing grip on power — especially after the failed coup in July — has caused widespread opposition to the continuation of those talks, because of major differences over human rights and freedom of speech issues.
Meanwhile, austerity measures backed by Merkel in an attempt to shore-up the single currency eurozone area are deeply unpopular — particularly in southern Europe, but she is determined to see the policy through to save the currency.
“When it comes to EU decision-making, the prevailing view in five of nine European nations is that Germany has too much influence. This view is most common in Greece, Italy and Spain. More than half in Poland and a plurality in Hungary agree that Germany plays an outsize role in EU decisions. The British are split on the issue,” the Pew report says.
“As for Germans themselves, six-in-ten say their country has about the right amount of sway in the EU. Unlike the rest of Europe, just 10% believe Germany is too influential in EU affairs, while about a quarter (26 percent) think their country should wield more power in decision-making than it currently does.”