The debt crisis that has ravaged Europe for the best part of three years has exposed a dislike of the single currency but little desire to abandon it, a wide-ranging survey of public opinion found Tuesday.
Pew Research Center's survey across eight European Union countries, including five members of the 17-country eurozone, indicated that the region's financial problems have triggered full-blown fears about the future of Europe as a political project.
"This crisis of confidence is evident in the economy, in the future, in the benefits of European economic integration, in EU membership, in the euro and in the free market system," Pew said in a statement accompanying its survey.
Despite those concerns, Pew found there was no desire for those countries that use the euro to return to their former currencies, such as the French franc or the Spanish peseta. The euro launched in 1999 and is now used by 17 countries.
In Greece, the epicentre of the debt crisis, 71 per cent of those polled want to keep the euro, as against to 23 per cent that want to return to the drachma. More people in Greece, which is now in its fifth year of a savage recession, think the euro has been good for them than bad - 46 per cent of those surveyed compared to 26 per cent who thought it was a bad thing.
These findings may be crucial as Greece heads to the polls on June 17 in a general election many see as a referendum on the country's euro membership.