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The Most Popular Country in the World

bbc survey european union world economy genuine leadership

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 15:12

Europe's largest economy, Germany, which has been criticized for not doing enough to help struggling euro zone countries, has topped a poll as the world's most popular country.

The survey, carried out for the BBC, polled 26,000 people in 25 countries and asked them to rate 16 countries and the European Union as a whole on whether their influence on the world was mainly positive or negative.

Germany came out on top, with 59 percent of survey participants giving it a positive rating. The country moved up three percentage points from its 2012 position. It displaced Japan, which saw its positive rating fall from 58 percent last year to 51 percent, going from first to fourth place.

The most negatively perceived country was Iran, with only 15 percent of respondents giving it a positive rating. Pakistan and North Korea also received low ratings.

Germany's increased popularity was helped by positive reviews from people in Spain, France, Ghana and Australia. But in debt-laden Greece a majority of people polled gave Germany negative ratings.

The German government's policy of tackling over indebtedness through harsh austerity measures has proven unpopular in peripheral euro zone economies.

Alastair Newton, political analyst at Japanese investment bank Nomura, said Germany's popularity in the survey is not surprising given the alternative choices.

"There are lots of reasons why Germany is admired," Newton said. "It is a large and important world economy, a world-class manufacturer and has a chancellor who demonstrates genuine leadership. The question also is, where else would it be? It is hardly likely to be the U.S., given their attitude to the Middle East, or China given Western and Japanese concerns on the country," he added.

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