Brussels - European Union citizens are losing confidence in their leaders' ability to steer the bloc's economy, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The Transatlantic Trends survey by the German Marshall Fund - a think tank promoting American-European relations - tracks public opinion trends each year across the two continents, polling citizens in the United States, Turkey and 11 EU member states.
More than two thirds (68 per cent) of European respondents to the survey said member states should retain authority over their economic and budgetary policy - an 11-per-cent increase on last year's figures.
Just a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) argued in favour of handing more of these powers to the EU, down from 37 per cent last year.
The European Commission, the bloc's executive, has argued that stronger economic governance from Brussels would help tackle the crisis, proposing for example that states enter into binding reform commitments and coordinate large-scale reforms in advance.
But the findings may bolster fears that next year's European elections could see anti-EU parties make significant gains.
More and more people felt that EU membership was bad for their economies, especially in the countries worst hit by the crisis. In Spain 44 per cent said so - a six-per-cent increase on 2012 - and in France 36 per cent agreed, up from 25 per cent last year.
However the survey also revealed broad dissatisfaction with national economic policies. In Europe, 62 per cent disapproved of their governments' choices, with France seeing the sharpest increase, up from 57 to 74 per cent.
The figures come a week after France admitted that it would miss this year's target for deficit reduction and had to revise down its 2014 growth forecast. The country is also grappling with rising unemployment.
In Germany, where elections are due at the weekend, the signals were mixed, with 56 per cent in favour of Chancellor Angela Merkel's economic course, while 41 per cent disapproved.
More Europeans expressed faith in Merkel's handling of the economic crisis (47 per cent) than the EU's (43 per cent), but her disapproval ratings rose to highs of 82 per cent in Spain and 65 per cent in Portugal.
The crisis had not affected American-European relations, the survey found, with 55 per cent of Europeans saying a strong US role was desirable and 57 per cent of Americans appreciating strong EU leadership.
“The United States remains popular internationally, buoyed by continued European support for President Barack Obama, while Germany's leadership has earned admiration within the European Union,” the survey said.
China, meanwhile, was seen as an “economic threat to the transatlantic community,” while both Chinese and Russian leadership in global affairs was not seen favourably.
The survey, conducted since 2002, includes Britain, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. - Sapa-dpa