Majority of French and Germans want fiscal unity: Survey

Hollande Merkel May 2012.jpg

Three-quarters of French and 70% of Germans want their countries to harmonise tax and fiscal policy, according to an opinion poll carried out for the German Embassy in Paris. EURACTIV France reports.

More than 70% of respondents to the IFOP survey, published by the pollster group on the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, also said they were in favour of Franco-German harmonisation on employment regulation and the creation of a single employment agency that would help job-seekers find work in both countries.

But the two were decidedly more divided on what the principal point of cooperation should be. 

The French cited economic integration, with more than 70% of respondents saying they thought the two countries should attempt to bring industry and enterprise together as well as developing joint research programmes. This viewpoint was shared by only 42% of Germans, who expressed more inclination towards cultural exchange (also 42%) than their counterparts.

Beer and wine

The study, which polled some 2,600 people in France and Germany, also took a more lighthearted look at Gallic-Teutonic relations. The French came up with Angela Merkel (29%) and beer (23%) as the two top things they associate with Germany.

Perhaps due to their apparent admiration for French culture, rosy-eyed Germans cited Paris, the city of love (56%), the Eiffel Tower (37%) and French wine (32%).

The French were decidedly less romantic about their neighbours across the Rhine, also associating them closely with cars (18%), rigidity and austerity (18%), and Nazism and Hitler (16%).

Differences were also apparent in their referral to history. Asked about the event they most associated with France, almost 50% of Germans made reference to something other than a historical moment or period, preferring to mention holidays, and food and drink. By contrast, the French had no qualms about drumming up the fall of the Berlin Wall (35%), and the wars (27%).

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