Politically stable with populist tones: How does the world see Germany?
Aside from cliches about efficiency, beer and lederhosen, how does the rest of the world see Germany? A new study has turned up some expected and unexpected answers.
Germany strong on politics and culture
A joint study by the Goethe Institute, the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has spent two months probing 620 experts and authorities from across 37 countries about their perspectives on Germany. Their findings were published this week in a study titled, “Aussenblick - International Perspectives on Germany in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The results of the survey are in large part to be expected: Germany is highly regarded when it comes to economic strength, scientific integrity, and cultural appeal. The German political system was also rated positively for its democratic stability and facilitation of interaction between different interest groups.
However, respondents highlighted shortcomings when it came to digital infrastructure, innovation and access to higher education. There are too many academic hurdles and hierarchies in Germany’s university system. On top of that, respondents said that Germany was not really doing enough on climate change, despite outwardly showing an interest in the topic.
The study also uncovered growing concern about populist and extremist tendencies in Germany, with respondents indicating that they have found the country less tolerant and friendly in recent years, causing them to feel unwelcome.
Merkel: Study provides lessons for the future
The interviewees were further invited to give their opinions on Germany’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s response to the first wave in the spring of 2020 received excellent marks, but respondents were apparently surprised at later developments, as the population began to disregard the rules and Germany faced “problems with [the] procurement, logistics and organisation of the vaccination campaign.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to the study in a video message, describing it as a “fascinating snapshot with partly expected, but also surprising answers.” She said the positive feedback was a confirmation of what has been achieved so far, while the critical comments were an incentive for Germany to work on further improvements.