Europe less, China more popular in global BBC poll

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EU flag flies on the backdrop of the Acropolis, Athens (file picture)
Image caption,
The poll suggests Europe's debt crisis has hit views of the continent across the world

European countries and the EU have fallen sharply in worldwide popularity, an opinion poll for the BBC suggests.

The percentage of those surveyed giving positive views of EU influence dropped by an average of 8% - from 56% to 48% - since the last poll in 2011.

Views of China, on the other hand, improved significantly, allowing it to overtake the EU. Japan replaced Germany as the most popular country.

The poll by Globescan was based on the answers of about 24,000 people in 22 countries.

Respondents were asked to rate the influence in the world of 16 countries and the EU as either "mostly positive" or "mostly negative".

Ratings of the EU and many European countries dropped across the countries surveyed in both 2011 and 2012, when 27 countries were surveyed. Positive views of Britain fell by by 6% and of France by 4%.

"The turmoil in the EU, long seen as an attractive bastion of political and economic stability, has raised doubts in people's minds about its continued ability to be a global leader," the head of polling company GlobeScan, Chris Coulter, said. "Hopes are turning to China."

Germany, the most positively regarded nation last year, saw its positive ratings drop from 60% to 56%, putting it in second place behind Japan, which rose 2% to 58%.

Positive views of China rose from 46% to 50%, with the biggest rises recorded in Britain, Australia, Canada, and Germany.

Views of the US remain broadly unchanged, the poll suggests, with 47% of respondents giving positive views and 33% negative views, compared to 48% and 31% in 2010.

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