[BERLIN] German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose tough stance in bailout talks with Greece has turned him into a hate-figure there, has surged to a new high in popularity at home, with 70 per cent of Germans saying they approve of the job he is doing.
A survey for public broadcaster ARD showed the 72-year-old Schaeuble is more popular than his boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had a rating of 67 per cent. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier topped the popularity ratings with 73 per cent.
ARD said it was the highest rating for Schaeuble.
Mr Schaeuble has been praised in the conservative German media in recent weeks for refusing to bow to the demands of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in negotiations over a bailout extension.
Top-selling daily Bild, which has campaigned for the eurozone to cut the Greeks loose, included a picture of Mr Schaeuble in a superhero costume in its Thursday edition last week, declaring him "Euroman" and praising him for defending the currency in the face of the "Greek rescue circus".
In contrast, Mr Schaeuble is widely disliked in Greece, where some newspapers have run cartoons of him dressed as a Nazi. A survey last month showed that only 14 per cent of Greeks view him positively, compared to 39 per cent for Merkel.