According to a new BBC poll of more than 26,000 people in 22 countries, Germany is viewed more positively than any other country tracked — a surprise to anyone who has followed the painful bailout negotiations in Spain, Greece and Cyprus, where aggrieved observers have repeatedly compared Chancellor Angela Merkel to Hitler and condemned Germany as a “thief” and an “empire.”
Despite those much-publicized cases, the BBC poll found that 59 percent of respondents called Germany’s impact on the world “mostly positive,” versus 45 percent for the U.S., which falls around the middle of the 22 tracked countries, and 15 percent for Iran, which ranks last. The poll ranks 22 major countries and the E.U.
The affection for Germany is interesting, particularly among European countries, because it comes at a time when Germany and the rest of E.U. share precious little common ground.