A survey so soon after the worst crisis that most of the participants might have ever experi-enced is not expected to produce pretty results. Nevertheless, the extent of the pessimism is surprising. As expected, the assessment of the current economic situation is miserable: 59% of the German respondents consider it as bad, against 30% in 2019. The situation is worse in France (81%) and Italy (80%). However, the outlook for the future is just as bleak, especially in France (82%) and Italy (77%); but even just under half of the German respondents (49%) have little hope for better times ahead. This deep pessimism contrasts with the fact that the overwhelming majority of German respondents (65%) say that they are not affected by the corona crisis, at least not economically (France: 62%, and Italy: 57%). And 74% of German respondents are also satisfied with the government's actions during the crisis (France: 47%, and Italy: 58%). The fight to flatten the curve was relatively successful. Moreover, companies and employees adjusted in record time to the lockdowns. While in the economy, this has sparked a pioneering spirit, seeing Covid-19 as a game changer, which makes something new possible, new working methods, for instance, there seems to be nothing comparable in the political sphere: A new spirit of optimism to make changes possible and break-up encrusted structures can hardly be detected. Instead, many respondents seem to have fallen into political apathy, confidence in the future has reached a new nadir.
This deep pessimism also infects how the EU is seen. Despite the agreement on the EU Recovery Fund, which could mark a turning point not only in the joint fight against the pandemic but also in the workings of the EU in general, the majority of respondents in all three countries – 54% in France, 52% in Germany and 61% in Italy – think that Corona will tend to reduce solidarity between EU members. This skepticism is also reflected in the assessment of the EU Recovery Fund itself. 37% of the German participants reject the decisions on joint bor-rowing and distribution as a grant; only 17% see this as a model for the future (the rest sees it as an one-off emergency measure or is undecided). While some politicians euphorically praised the agreement on the Recovery Fund as the "Hamiltonian moment" of the EU, the vast majority of respondents is rather unimpressed. There seems to be a deep-seated distrust of the EU – now even in Germany. The EU sceptics are this year not only in the majority in France and Italy (net percentage of -19% and -17%, respectively), but also in Germany: 31% of German respondents have a negative view of the EU, compared to only 27% with a positive image (33% are neutral and 9% undecided). Last year, the supporters were still ahead with 14 percentage points.