Are the French really as arrogant as the surveys say?

With surveys repeatedly suggesting that travellers see the French as impolite and unwelcoming, we see if the stereotype is really true.

While universal stereotypes might often point toward France as being Europe’s “most arrogant” country, a new survey from the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project takes the above Fast Track report one step further. According to the most recent data, Germany is actually seen as the haughtiest, with France coming in second.

Taking into account the opinions of 7,600 people in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, here are the other titles Europeans have given to themselves and to each other:

Least arrogant: Spain
There was no runaway winner in this category, but Spain won, ironically, because its people voted for themselves. In fact, every country voted for itself with the exception of Italy, which selected Spain and cemented its spot as the winner, and the Czech Republic, which chose Slovakia.

Most trustworthy: Germany
Almost across the entire continent, Germans are considered to be the most trustworthy, a title many likely can understand given how the country has been working to lead the EU out of its long-running economic slump. Greece was the only country that saved that accolade for themselves, despite – or in spite – of its national economic crisis.

Least trustworthy: Italy and Greece
Perhaps it is the universal stereotype of Italians being smooth talkers – or former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s well-publicised exploits – that earned Italy a tie as “least trustworthy.” Regardless, it seems it is something they accept, because they also chose themselves for the title. Germans were split on whether Italy or Greece was less trustworthy, and in the end both tied for the top spot. There seems to be mutual suspicion between the countries, though, because Greece selected Germany as “least trustworthy”.

Most compassionate: Depends who you ask
Every country deemed themselves as the “most compassionate” in the EU: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic all voted for themselves.  

Least compassionate: Germany
While Germans might be perceived as the most trustworthy, Europeans think a sob story is best told to another nationality. Six out of the eight countries surveyed chose Germany as the least compassionate, while two others (Germany and France) gave that distinction to Britain.

Most positive about their economy: Germany
Germany was the only country surveyed that thinks its national economy is faring well. In 2012 the Germany economy grew by 0.7%, “modest”, as the survey described. It was comparatively strong, however, given that the EU average was moving in the opposite direction at -0.3%.

Who dislikes Germany the most: Greece
Greeks voted Germans as their pick in every negative category: least trustworthy, most arrogant and least compassionate. Given Germany’s role in the current economic crisis, at times having to play bad cop to Greece, it is unsurprising.

Most dissatisfied with the direction of their country: Greece
The most financially plagued countries in the EU were also the most dissatisfied with the direction of their countries, with Greeks being the most displeased, almost unanimously so at 97%. Italy followed closely in dissatisfaction with 96%, while Germany was the only country surveyed with majority satisfaction -57%.

The article 'Are the French really as rude as the surveys say?' was published in partnership with BBC's Fast Track.