Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gallup World Poll: French Gloomiest About Their Nation's Economy

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ParisAlthough a September Gallup poll showed that close to half of Americans believe that the economy will be worse in a year than it is today, the French have an even gloomier opinion about what is happening in their own nation. A Gallup "End of the Year" survey names France as the country whose people are the “most pessimistic” in the world about their nation's economic outlook. A whopping 79 percent of French citizens — the most in three decades — believe their economy will continue to worsen.

These findings are corroborated by the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies, which shows a stunning decline in France over the last 11 years in economic confidence. The results are a composite of different data into a “Consumer Synthetic Index,” which rose steadily until 2001 and which has fallen sharply since then.

Ireland and Austria ranked just behind France as the most pessimistic nations in the world about their economies. The only European country in the survey which had a positive rating about its economy — and that was only a statistically insignificant + one percent — was Moldova in Eastern Europe. Globally, pessimism was the predominant feeling, with only 30 percent of all those surveyed optimistic about their economic future, while 34 percent are pessimistic.  That reverses a slightly optimistic opinion in the survey of last year. 

Gallup comments on French citizens' widespread grim view of their economy:

Even in 1978, after the second oil crisis that called into question an entire economic system, the French have never shown themselves as pessimistic as today. Europe leads in despair, followed by North America. The rest of the world, lead by Africa, remains mostly optimistic....

After the Second World War, there was reconstruction and our country was one of the pioneers of Europe. Today the French 'Savior State' model, praised by both Left and Right for decades, is basically considered obsolete. What can the French be proud of tomorrow?

This negative outlook will undoubtedly affect the upcoming French presidential election next spring, although the socialists will have nothing new to offer the people. It is also not merely the economy which is troubling Frenchmen. The future of the European Union and its money, the euro, is decidedly uncertain.  The drag of sovereign debt in nations such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy is affecting the economic health of the other member-states in the European Union.

Nations such as Finland and the United Kingdom are already pulling back and taking a long, sober look at the cost of membership in a “United States of Europe.” Analysts wonder if France will soon do the same. The election season and the plans offered by the political parties in France will shortly answer that question.


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