Opinion Formers: Third Greek bailout the right decision...

Opinion Formers: Third Greek bailout the right decision...

...But Greece will leave the eurozone within the next 12 months anyway

Greece has already been bailed out twice and is now on the verge of ratifying a third from Europe’s public purse in an effort to stop the country declaring bankruptcy. While there are potentially serious ramifications for the rest of Europe if the Mediterranean nation’s economy were to collapse, the combined bill of bailing Greece out to the tune of hundreds-of-billions of Euros is testing the patience of many. YouGov wanted to know what its panel of UK Opinion Formers - which draws leaders from the worlds of business, politics, the media, charities, public sector and academia among others – thought of the latest Greek woes.

Just over a third (36%) of Opinion Formers feel that “it was the right decision to bailout Greece as the consequences of a possible Grexit were too great for the rest of Europe to bear. These consequences could include a run on the banks, a return to the Drachma, forced withdrawal from the eurozone and the potential loss of political confidence in the EU to protect its own members.

In addition to those who think it was the right decision, 30% think that “despite the bailout I expect Greece will still leave the eurozone within 12 months or so”. One in five (19%) however feel that a third bailout was one too many, and that “the EU should not have released funds and Greece should have been ejected from the eurozone”.

Attitudes towards the bailout are broadly divided along party political lines, with supporters of the traditionally pro-EU parties more likely than Conservative voters to support it. Just over half (54%) of Opinion Formers who voted for Labour in the 2015 election and 40% of Lib Dem voters feel that the third bailout was “the right decision”. In contrast, support for the third bailout is markedly lower amongst Opinion Formers who voted for the Conservative party (24%). Indeed, Tory voters are more likely to think that Greece will either leave the EU within the next year anyway (35%) or that they should not have received a bailout and been ejected from the eurozone (33%) immediately.

Perhaps then for at least a third of Opinion Formers, the fear of the worst case scenario contributes to the feeling that this was the correct decision. However, for the fifth that feel this Greek tragedy has gone on long enough, ejecting the Mediterranean nation which is seen to be a repeat rule-breaker is worth the risk. The lack of agreement amongst the UK’s Opinion formers on this topic does though show how divisive the problem is.

YouGov completed online interviews with 641 opinion formers from its UK Opinion Formers Panel. Opinion Formers are leaders in their field from business, media, politics, NGOs, academia and beyond. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th and 25th July 2015. The figures have not been weighted.

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