December 14, 2014 / 2:12 PM / in 3 years

French voters like Merkel, back German reform example: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - A majority of French voters view Germany’s Angela Merkel positively and want their government to emulate her reforms, according to a poll published on Sunday, revealing a sharp contrast to President Francois Hollande’s own dismal ratings.

Angela Merkel, German chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union party CDU addresses the delegates of the party congress of the CDU's sister party, Bavaria's Christian Social Union party CSU, in Nuremberg December 12, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Some 72 percent hold favorable opinions of the German chancellor, according to the poll for Le Journal du Dimanche - way above Hollande’s approval ratings, which have sunk as low as 12 percent in recent months.

The French weekly commissioned the survey after Merkel raised hackles among France’s ruling Socialists by urging Paris and Rome to do more to curb deficits.

But according to pollster Ifop, which contacted 1,011 French people of voting age, 64 percent believe France should follow the example of German economic reforms.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin and other leaders hit back last week after Merkel backed Brussels’ demands that France and Italy take further steps to bring their budgets into line with European Union rules.

Populist Left Party co-founder Jean-Luc Mélenchon went further in a tweet urging Merkel to “shut it”.

But the poll’s findings “prove that the Merkel-bashing hasn’t worked”, Ifop’s deputy director Frédéric Dabi told the French newspaper.

Some 74 percent of respondents nonetheless said Berlin exerted too much influence on EU policy, and a similar proportion believed Germany faced problems with low pay and poverty. The newspaper did not specify a margin of error.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Rosalind Russell

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