A new opinion survey has revealed that Germans’ trust in government and political institutions—at local, state, federal, and European levels—has fallen to a new low, with trust levels in ten major political institutions dropping sharply in 2022 compared to the previous year.
The survey, carried out by the Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis, revealed, among other things, that two-thirds of Germans do not trust the institutions of “Federal Chancellor” and the “Federal Government,” a drop of 24 and 22 percentage points, respectively, compared to the previous year, Junge Freiheit reports.
The Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, fared almost equally as bad, with 63% of respondents saying they do not trust the institution. In former East German states, nearly three of four respondents (74%) said they do not trust the lawmaking body. In last year’s survey, 50% of respondents nationwide said they trusted the institution to represent and defend their interests.
At the European level, German citizens are even more distrustful. Trust in the European Union and its institutions fell to 31%, down from 38% a year ago. In the former East German states, just 20% of respondents said they trust the EU.
Of the ten key political institutions whose trust levels were measured in the survey, political parties proved to be the least trusted, with a mere 17% of Germans nationwide saying they trust them to represent their interests. Again, in the former East German states, that number was even lower, at just 11%.
The institution of “Federal President” was the only political institution that enjoyed the trust of more than half of the population (63%), down 12-percentage points from last year.
In comments given exclusively to The European Conservative, Dieter Stein, the founder and editor-in-chief of German newspaper Junge Freiheit, provided some insight as to why trust in the German state and its political institutions has fallen to such an astoundingly low level.
It is frightening when two-thirds of Germans distrust their own government. The same applies to the Bundestag, the country’s decisive parliament, which is also distrusted by almost two-thirds of Germans. There are two main reasons for this: The miserable crisis management of the federal government and the powerlessness of the Bundestag. Whether refugees, Corona, inflation, education, energy, Deutsche Bahn, infrastructure or the Ukraine war—the crisis management of Merkel’s and Scholz’s governments is disastrous. A lot of money is spent to alleviate hardship in the short term, but nothing is achieved in the medium and long term. On the contrary, inflation is really being fuelled. And the Bundestag? It is not in a position to put a stop to the government. Germans perceive the federal government as incompetent and the Bundestag as impotent. All the more important are opposition parties that give voice to protest and can offer alternative, constructive, political solutions to the country’s many problems.
Also speaking exclusively to The European Conservative about the alarming level of distrust Germans have in their political institutions, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) MP Petr Bystron, who serves as the party’s foreign policy spokesperson, said:
It is no wonder that Germans have completely lost confidence in the government. In recent years, the situation in Germany has deteriorated dramatically: opposition members are massively suppressed by the state, anti-government demonstrators are beaten up by the police, organizers are arrested, critical journalists are silenced, opposition parties are deprived of their rights in parliaments—and all of this is either hushed up or massively misrepresented by the state-controlled media.
The mood in society is similar to the mood in the GDR at the end of the 1980s, shortly before the collapse of the system. The government spreads a virtual reality through its institutions and media, but more and more citizens see in daily life that this artificial image has nothing to do with the reality of life.
The survey, titled “Institutions Trust Ranking,” has been carried out by Forsa for the past 15 years. In this year’s poll, conducted on behalf of n-tv/RTL Germany from December 15th to 22nd, a total of 4,003 respondents participated.