World

Donald Trump Scares Germans More Than Terrorism, Eurozone Crisis and Climate Change

More than three quarters of Germans fear President Donald Trump is making the world a more dangerous place, making him a bigger cause for concern than terrorism, immigration and climate change.

The annual survey named “The Fears of Germans 2018”, carried out by insurance company R+V Versicherungen, asked a sample of 2,400 Germans this summer to select from multiple choice options of their biggest fears. Although “terrorism” has ranked as the most frequently given answer, this year most Germans had a different terror.

With 69 percent, the Trump administration’s policies beat anxiety over Germany’s ability to cope with the influx of refugees (63 percent) and the tensions their arrival could cause with locals (63 percent), as the country’s top fear.

"Trump's ruthless “America First” politics, his aggression with regards to international arrangements and his equally aggressive trade and security politics, even towards allied countries, scare the majority of the population," Professor Manfred G. Schmidt, who served as a consultant for R+V told public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The fear that German politicians are not up to do their jobs worried 61 percent of the population. Only 59 percent of Germans feared terrorism this year, compared with 71 percent in 2017. Political extremism was also noticeably a lower concern than the year prior as 57 percent said they were afraid of it, compared with 2017 when 62 percent gave that answer, ranking it as the year’s second biggest fear.

The only top answer that received the same number of votes over the past 12 months was the prospect of a Eurozone debt crisis, which worried 58 percent of Germans, though did not rank as highly this year due to a surge in anxiety about other topics. Only 48 percent of Germans expressed a fear of climate change.

GettyImages-1016408140 An actor wearing a silicon mask in the likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump poses with a boxing bag adorned with a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a presentation at Madame Tussauds on August 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Trump's politics now rank as the most feared phenomenon among Germans this year. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Trump’s fraught relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has generated numerous headlines in recent months and his behaviour at bigger summits with allies has even prompted the normally unemotive leader to call the situation “a little depressing.”

The president reportedly joked about how rarely they see eye to eye at the last G7 summit, throwing some Starburst candy at the Chancellor following a dispute and exclaiming: “Here, Angela. Don’t say I never give you anything.”

Beyond their personal relationship, Trump has repeatedly singled out Germany as an example of a U.S. ally that underspends on defense and at the last NATO summit accused the country of being a “captive of Russia,” due to a pipeline deal agreed with Moscow.

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