Europeans are developing some very strong feelings about Germany, which many call the most trustworthy, most arrogant and least compassionate nation in Europe, according to a fascinating new study by Pew.
The polling firm's report on European attitudes shows declining confidence toward the European Union and, perhaps as a result, increasingly complicated feelings about Germany, the country seen as the center of the union. The euro crisis, Pew says, appears to be exacerbating long-held views about Germans and "reinforcing general stereotypes among Europeans about each other."
This chart summarizes Pew's findings on whom Europeans consider to be the most and least trustworthy, arrogant and compassionate. The results are pretty revealing. Here are a few observations:
• Germans are considered by far the most trustworthy. Everyone trusts Germans above all other nationalities, except for the Greeks, who say Greeks are the most trustworthy. Only Greeks and Germans voted themselves the most trustworthy. In France, 43 percent call Germans trustworthy.
• Germans are also seen as the most arrogant, but France is a close second. The French are identified as the most arrogant in Germany, the U.K. and, weirdly, in France itself. It's not clear why French people would call themselves the most arrogant; is it a badge of honor, perhaps?
• Only the Brits, who have hinted for some time that they may leave the Union, challenge the Germans in lack of compassion, according to European poll respondents.
• "Greek enmity toward the Germans knows little bound," according to Pew's report on their survey. Other European countries rate Greece poorly on trustworthiness.
• Italians say that their country is the least trustworthy. Germans and Spanish agree.
• Poland has some of the strongest feelings about Germany, which is perhaps unsurprising given their history, identifying Germans as un-compassionate and arrogant. Oddly, Poles identify Germany as both the most and least trustworthy nation in the European Union.
• Everyone sees themselves as the least arrogant, except for Czechs who give their former co-nationals in Slovakia (the two countries were once joined as Czechoslovakia) that honor
• "People of every nationality consider themselves to be the most compassionate people in Europe," Pew finds. This is one of many datapoints for Pew's suggestion that "Self-congratulation is common across Europe, while self-criticism is in short supply." That attitude does not seem to bode well for the sort of intra-European compromising necessary to resolve the crisis.