1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German angst: Trump tops 'list of fears'

Nicole Goebel
September 6, 2018

Nothing scares Germans more than the US president's policies and their global impact, according to a new survey. Concerns about refugees and integration came in second and third place.

Angela Merkel, head in hands, with Donald Trump
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/NTB Scanpix/T. Meek

More than two-thirds of Germans — or 69 percent — are extremely concerned that US President Donald Trump's policies are having a dangerous impact worldwide, according to the annual survey "The fears of Germans" by the R+V Infocenter.

"Trump's ruthless 'America First' politics, his aggression in regard to international arrangements and his equally aggressive trade and security policies, even towards allied countries, scare the majority of the population," said Manfred G. Schmidt, a professor at Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg and a consultant for R+V Infocenter.

It was one of the highest percentages ever recorded in the survey, which has cataloged German fears since 1992.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

A whopping 63 percent believe that German authorities and institutions are unable to cope with refugees and asylum-seekers, 63 percent also fear that increased migration will spark further tension between Germans and asylum-seekers and refugees. Both figures are higher than in the survey released in 2017.

Lack of trust in politicians

More than 60 percent of those polled put little store in politicians, fearing that they are not up to the job. Nearly half mark their performance as a 'fail' or a mere one grade above that. Both percentages show a significant increase from last year's survey. Just 6 percent marked their work as "good" or "very good."

Terrorism, the debt crisis and the environment

Fifty-nine percent of Germans are still concerned about terrorist attacks in Germany, although the number has dropped in recent years.

Nearly the same number applies to fear over the impact of the eurozone's debt crisis. Germany's taxpayers, Schmidt pointed out, are still at risk of paying the lion's share in case of an EU country defaulting on payments.

Read more: Climate change takes a toll on our minds too

The survey also shows 48 percent of Germans are worried about climate change and believe it will have a dramatic impact on the environment. More than half think there will be more natural disasters in future.

The researchers point out that none of the categories showed significant regional differences.

The annual survey is commissioned by insurance firm R+V Versicherungen. Around 2,400 Germans across the country were polled between June 8 and July 18, 2018.

Espinosa: "Climate change is a driver of conflict"