This is the question many analysts are posing as we face dropping temperatures and rising living costs. The data featured in our “Under pressure” report from October 2022 pointed to a consistently high level of support between March and June 2022.
The following graphs show how the intense debate on energy security and energy-saving measures have shaped views from March through September of this year.
The questions posed fall under three issue areas:
1. The EU’s role in the world and its capacity to strengthen this role
2. The policies aiming to support Ukraine in its war effort: weapons delivery, acceptance of refugees, energy independence, EU-enlargement and common European defence policy
3. Personal worries
This question has been part of our catalogue of trends tracked since 2015.
Overall, a large majority of Europeans have consistently supported the EU taking on a more active role in global affairs (80% express support in 2022). Support varies on a national level (70% – 90%). Support consolidated with the Russian attack on Ukraine and remains high.
Europeans consistently express the view that the EU needs to exercise both soft and hard power in order to play a role in global affairs. 70% believe the EU needs military power. Around 90% of Europeans believe that economic strength, strong allies and attractive values are essential.
Across the EU, support for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine has dropped by 6 (your country) or 7 (EU) percentage points and up to 13 points in individual countries. Poland is the exception.
Support for energy independence remains high (67% EU-wide and more than 60% in each member state). However, cold weather and rising prices are taking their toll.
From March to September 2022, support dropped by 7 percentage points across the EU. Support dropped by 12 percentage points in Belgium and by 10 percentage points in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Support for accepting refugees remains nonetheless high at more than 70%. EU-wide, support has dropped by 9 percentage points. In France and Germany, support has dropped by 12 percentage points; in Belgium and the Netherlands 11 points; in Poland 10; in Italy 8; in Spain 4.
EU-wide support for integrating Ukraine into the EU has fallen somewhat (6 percentage points), but remains above 60%. Support is highest in Poland and lowest in Germany.
Close to 90% of Europeans believe the EU needs a common defence policy. Support for this remains exceptionally high and stable over time. Little variance on this between member states. Support in Spain is strongest (92%); lowest in the Netherlands (83%).
Rising cost of living tops the list of personal worries: 49% of Europeans cite this as number one concern. Up 5 percentage points since June 2022. See: www.eupinions.eu
Highest levels reported in the Netherlands (52%) and Germany (51%). Though still the top-cited concern in Italy and Spain, cost of living as a worry is lowest in these countries (36% and 39%, respectively). Poor health remains a major concern in both countries.
The eupinions figures presented here aim to shed light on the question as to whether European solidarity with Ukraine will be affected by the impact of the energy crisis, particularly in the face of plunging temperatures.
In short, we see the following developments:
Notably, the data points to stability rather than any major changes in views. We see a general, though slightly downward trend on all three issues areas taking place from March to September. A closer look at the issue of weapons delivery reveals a more palpable change in opinion. Support for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine has dropped by roughly 10 percentage points, nearing the 50% mark. The support for energy independence is under pressure as well.
Nonetheless, in broader terms, we still see a high level of support for policies aimed at supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Given the gravity of the situation and the costs involved, this stability is remarkable.
However, two things can be true at the same time.
Europeans are also worried about their personal situation as they face narrowing opportunities and the continuing increase in the cost of living. These two states of minds could increasingly conflict with each other.
At this moment, radical political actors (are seeking to) capitalize on this conflict by presenting themselves as the only viable way forward. Democratic leaders in Europe should therefore persist in clearly communicating the benefits of a united, common effort: Why we are in it? What’s at stake? What’s to gain? Who are our allies?
At the same time, they should do their best to mitigate the economic and social fall-out of the crises we face. Large and well-off countries like Germany are in a better position to do so than are many of their European peers. A common European approach should thus be pursued whenever possible.
Europeans have high expectations regarding the potential of the EU and its united political action; seeing this potential in action is vital to continued solidarity.
eupinions is an independent platform for European public opinion. We collect and analyse European public opinion data and comment on what Europeans think about current political issues and megatrends.
Every quarter, we collect samples from each EU member state in 22 languages. Our data is representative with regard to age, gender, education and country/region.
eupinions is a project of Bertelsmann Stiftung. The data is collected by Dalia Research.
Visit www.eupinions.eu for further information!
The samples analysed in this report were drawn by Dalia Research in March (with a size of n=13208), June (n=13220) and September 2022 (n=13204) across all 27 EU member states. Our samples take into account current population distributions with regard to age (16-70 years), gender and region/country. In order to obtain census representative results, the data were weighted using the most recent Eurostat statistics.
Any references to differences between countries in the report pertain only to the seven countries with sufficiently large sample sizes: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
Calculated for a sample of this size and considering the design-effect, the margin of error would be 1% (March and September 2022) and 0,9% (June 2022) at a confidence level of 95%.