Europeans favor Ukraine’s EU accession over other states’, survey finds

December 13,2023 762
Europeans favor Ukraine’s EU accession over other states’, survey finds

A recent European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) survey across six EU member states highlighted that citizens in European countries exhibit varying levels of support for Ukraine’s EU membership compared to other aspiring candidates, as reported by The Guardian.

Europeans are generally open to the idea of Ukraine joining the EU while, at best, are lukewarm toward the possible accession of Georgia and Western Balkans countries. Respondents also support the EU accession of Moldova to a lesser extent. Widespread opposition exists to the potential entry of Türkiye.

Denmark and Poland emerged as the most supportive nations for Ukraine’s EU accession, with Denmark showing 50% favorability and Poland at 47%. Romania exhibited divided opinions (32% in favor, 29% against), while Germany (37% in favor, 39% against) and France (29% in favor, 35% against) showcased mixed responses. Over half of Austrians (52%) expressed opposition.

However, Europeans have expressed deep concern about economic issues and security concerns regarding Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Approximately 45% of respondents voiced worries that Ukraine’s inclusion might compromise the EU’s security, while only 25% believed it would enhance security within the union.

A substantial number of respondents failed to see economic benefits from Ukraine’s membership, with 43% in Poland and 37% in Romania anticipating a positive impact on the EU’s economy. Conversely, 54% in Denmark and 46% in Austria anticipated associated costs.

Some Europeans, mostly Austrians (42%) and Germans (32%) fear that Ukraine’s entry will weaken the EU’s political influence. In contrast, Poland and Denmark are the most optimistic, with 43% and 35% of citizens believing that Ukraine’s accession will have a positive impact in this regard. In France and Romania, opinions were more evenly divided.

The ECFR noted a different trend regarding expansion among “old” and “new” EU member states. Respondents in Austria (53%), Germany (50%), and France (44%) are most inclined to believe that the EU should not admit new members. Meanwhile, most in Romania (51%) and 48% in Poland believe the EU should seek expansion.

The EU summit scheduled in Brussels on December 14-15 is expected to deliberate on the decision to initiate negotiations regarding Ukraine’s potential EU accession. Hungary stands firmly against this decision, while Slovakia confirmed its readiness to support Ukraine’s accession during the December summit, ending earlier uncertainties surrounding its position.

Cover: Philippe Buissin / EP

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