German support for euro grows, poll shows

The Euro currency sign is seen in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

BERLIN (Reuters) - Some 69 percent of Germans want to keep the euro, a new poll showed on Tuesday, the highest level of support since the single currency was introduced in 2002, according to the paper which commissioned it.

The Forsa survey also showed that despite new worries about the euro zone debt crisis, only 27 percent of Germans want the deutsche mark back compared to about 50 percent in 2012.

“The euro crisis is a worry for many Germans. But the attitude towards the euro as a unit of currency is no longer affected by that,” Forsa chief Manfred Guellner told business daily Handelsblatt, which commissioned the poll.

Opinion about the euro has long been divided in Europe’s biggest economy. For many Germans, the mark was a symbol of the economic strength and stability they built up in the decades after World War Two.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in September, has taken a tough stance with heavily indebted euro zone states to try to reassure German voters they are not paying the bill for countries they see as lacking in budget discipline.

Fears that the euro zone debt crisis could flare up again have risen in the last few weeks due to worries about a rescue package for Cyprus and a constitutional court ruling in Portugal which rejected some of the government’s austerity measures.

“Cyprus and its savers are a long way away, therefore events there have no influence on opinion about the euro itself,” said Guellner.

The poll of 1,003 people was conducted between April 2 and 3.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Brown