Public discontent: Europeans think euro is bad news

People wait in line at a government employment office in the center of Madrid on September 04, 2012. (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)
Most Europeans approve the way German Chancellor Angela Merkel has handled the economic crisis, but the euro does not enjoy the same support, polls show.

Annual research by the German Marshall Fund, a Washington-based think tank, found that despite another difficult year for most economies in the European Union, nearly two-thirds of Europeans still considered membership in the EU good for their economies.

However, only 37% of those polled in EU countries thought the unified currency had been, to those in the eurozone, or would be, to those outside the euro zone, a good thing for their country’s economy.

A majority of 57% thought it had been or would be a bad thing.

Germany (53%, up five percentage points) and Slovakia (54%) were the only countries where a majority of those polled said using the euro had been beneficial to their economies.

More than half of Spanish (57%), Portuguese (55%), French (52%) and Italian (51%) respondents said the euro had hurt their economies.

Respondents outside the eurozone were increasingly likely to think the unified currency would be bad for them. In the UK, 89% of respondents approve of the country's choice against joining the euro, along with Sweden (84%, up 17 points), Poland (71%, up 19 points) and Bulgaria (a plurality of 45%, down 1 point).

Meanwhile, when Europeans were asked whether they approved of the way German Chancellor Angela Merkel had handled the economic crisis, a majority (52%) said they approved of her actions. Her approval ratings were highest in the Netherlands (74%), Bulgaria (66%), France (64%), Germany (63%) and Sweden (61%).

Disapproval rates, on the other hand, were highest in troubled Italy and Spain (both 63%) and Portugal (61%), three of the countries hit hardest by the economic crisis. However, a majority in Poland (57%) and Slovakia (52%), and a plurality in the United Kingdom (47%) also supported her.