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Germans see a greater threat in the USA than in China or Russia


A majority of Germans rate America's influence on global democracy rather negatively. The federal government has meanwhile lost a lot of confidence in fighting the pandemic.

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Joe Biden in front of the flag of the US state Arizona


Despite sympathy for the new US President Joe Biden, according to a survey, Germans are critical of the USA.

This is the result of the "Democracy Perception Index" (DPI) of the market research institute Latana.

This was drawn up on behalf of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which was founded by the former NATO Secretary General and former Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

According to this, around a third of Germans (36 percent) are of the opinion that the influence of the USA poses a greater threat to democracy in Germany than that of China (33 percent) or Russia (29 percent).

One in two (51 percent) sees the country's influence on global democracy as rather negative, a good third (32 percent) as positive.

"The term of office of the former President Donald Trump has undoubtedly damaged the trust among democratic partners in Europe," said Jonas Parello-Plesner, managing director of the Alliance of Democracies, the SPIEGEL.

However, a "biden effect" can be seen.

Compared to the last DPI from spring 2020, the positive perception of the United States has increased by 20 percentage points.

Those surveyed in Germany named economic inequality (49 percent) as the greatest perceived threat to German democracy, followed by the power of the large technology companies (46 percent) and restrictions on freedom of expression (40 percent).

The market research institute Latana has been surveying more than 50,000 people in 53 countries (1009 in Germany) every year since 2018.

The survey carried out this year between the end of February and mid-April is therefore representative of more than three quarters of the world's population.

This time, the topic was also how the states deal with the corona pandemic.

Little satisfaction with the fight against corona

Less than half of Germans said their country was responding well to the crisis.

In spring 2020 it was more than 70 percent.

The European average showed similar values, while three-quarters of respondents in Asian countries were satisfied with their governments.

Almost every second respondent in Germany and most of the European countries surveyed also expressed the opinion that their own government had restricted the freedoms of citizens too much during the pandemic.

Somewhat every third German thought the restrictions were appropriate, last year it was almost ten percentage points more.

Dissatisfaction with the reactions to the pandemic increased worldwide.

However, the approval rate in more democratic countries (51 percent) fell more markedly than in less democratic countries (65 percent).

In March 2020, a good two thirds of those surveyed in both categories were still positive about the actions of their governments.

For Parello-Plesner, this does not result in a long-term legitimation problem: "Democratic countries in East Asia such as Japan, South Korea or Taiwan have fought the pandemic at least as efficiently as China, for example, and have not made use of undemocratic structures." In addition, according to the survey, there are still around 81 Percent of people think it is important to have democracy in their countries.

The study is based on Freedom House, a global democracy index.

A majority of respondents (65 percent) agreed with the question of whether Germany is currently democratic.

This is above that of most other democracies.

However, 38 percent believe that the government is acting primarily in the interests of a small group of people.

Although these are fewer people than in most of the other countries examined, they are still more than a third of the population.

With a view to the general election, almost half of Germans also say that interference by a foreign power is likely to affect the outcome.

more on the subject

  • German-American relationship after Trump: "It can only get better" By Christiane Hoffmann and René Pfister

  • Berlin's collaboration with the future US President: Not everything will be easier with BidenBy Florian Gathmann, Matthias Gebauer and Christoph Schult

  • Moscow-Berlin relationship at rock bottom: "From now on the Kremlin regards Germany as a US-controlled state" By Christian Esch, Moscow

The »Democracy Perception Index« was carried out on the occasion of the »Copenhagen Democracy Summit«, which took place for the fourth time on May 10th and 11th.

On the initiative of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, leaders from politics and business meet in the Danish capital to discuss the state of democracy in the world.

This year, the Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaidó and the chairman of the secret service committee of the US House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, are expected as guests.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-05-06

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