58% Europeans support Ukraine’s joining NATO, and only 48% are for Ukraine’s joining the European Union. This is evidenced by the findings of an opinion poll held by KANTAR PUBLIC and commissioned by Yalta European Strategy (YES).
Citizens of seven EU member states were polled within the survey – Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania, Great Britain, Poland and the Netherlands – based on a sample that was representative for each country (more than 1000 people per country). The findings of the public opinion poll were presented today, on the 16th of September, at the plenary session of Yes 14th Annual Meeting “Is This a New World? And What Does It Mean for Ukraine?”. Similar opinion polls, commissioned by YES, had been held in 2005 and 2007.
Most Europeans polled (58%) support Ukraine’s joining NATO, while its joining the EU is supported by only 48%. 12 years ago, when the first poll was held, the situation was different: majority was for Ukraine’s becoming an EU member: 55% Europeans polled.
Today, the idea of Ukraine joining the EU is best supported in Lithuania and Poland (68% and 67% respectively), and least supported in the Netherlands (27%). The level of support in France, Germany and the UK is less than half of the people polled.
Those who are against Ukraine’s joining the EU are explaining it using various reasons. One-third of the people polled believe that at this stage of development, the EU cannot afford a further enlargement. And a comparable number (31%) think that Ukraine’s accession would cause economic issues in the European Union.
40% of those who support Ukraine’s membership believe that Ukraine is part of Europe. And 34% of the accession supporters stress that this step would boost democracy in Ukraine.
With regards to Ukraine’s joining NATO, the situation is different. In almost every country where the survey was held, most people are for accepting Ukraine as a member of the North-Atlantic Alliance. Even in France and the Netherlands, there are 49% people supporting this, and in other countries, the level of support is higher. In Lithuania and Poland, this number is 72% and 76% respectively. These two countries of the former “communist camp” prove the strongest support for Ukraine to join NATO.
The main argument for Ukraine’s integration with NATO, according to the Europeans, is its countering Russia (40% of those who support joining). Also, there are 8% who believe that Ukraine’s joining NATO will boost the ability of Europe to counter the Russian aggression.