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GLOBSEC Trends 2022. CEE amid the war in Ukraine


The support for EU and NATO has increased slightly over the past year, and four out of five CEE respondents now want to be part of Western structures and perceive them as guarantors of security and territorial integrity, according to the report GLOBSEC Trends 2022 CEE amid the war in Ukraine.


The report, by Bratislava-based think tank GLOBSEC, is based on public opinion poll surveys carried out in March 2022 in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.


A total of 44% of Central and Eastern Europeans expressed support for their countries adopting a Western geopolitical orientation. The seven percentage points increase across the region measured over the past year marks the largest since the polling began on this question in 2016, the report authors explained. 


In the case of Romania, the backing for a Western geopolitical orientation decreased from 43% to 27% over the past year, the report found. It is the only country in the region where the support dropped.


At the same time, 12% of local respondents were unsure how the country should be geopolitically positioned. Similar levels of indecisiveness were recorded among Estonians (15%) and Lithuanians and Poles (12%). The EU continues to enjoy robust support across the CEE, where, on average, 80% of respondents would vote to stay in the EU. A total of 75% of Romanians would vote for the country to stay in the EU, the survey found.


When it comes to NATO membership, the support now averages 79%, with all countries, apart from Bulgaria. Among Romanian respondents, 80% would vote for the country to stay in NATO, up from 77% in 2021. Furthermore, 62% agreed that Romania’s “membership in NATO makes it less likely that a foreign nation will attack us.” In eight of the nine countries, a majority trust the armed forces of their own country, with the percentage in Romania reaching 61%.


The perception that the US is a strategic partner soared by 10 percentage points since 2021, and Washington is now viewed as a key ally in NATO by 3/4 of respondents in the CEE region. Among local respondents, 75% perceive the US as a strategic partner, and 70% agree the US is an ally and traditional partner within NATO.


On the topic of the perceptions of political leaders, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is perceived favorably by 66% of the respondents in the region, Emmanuel Macron by 61%, Boris Johnson by 57%, Joe Biden by 53%, Ursula von der Leyen by 50%, and Olaf Scholz by 44%.


The report also found that 63% of the Romanian respondents agree with the statement “Russia invaded Ukraine,” while 26% think that the West was responsible for the war by provoking Russia. Another 43% agree that “by fighting against the Russian invasion, Ukraine is also fighting for democracy in Europe.” A total of 51% think Ukraine should become a member of the EU and NATO, while 40% believe it should remain a neutral country.


The report also found that Romania is the only surveyed country where satisfaction with democracy decreased from 30% to 23%. Openness to an authoritarian leader, at 60%, also remains the highest in the region.


The report is available here : (https://www.globsec.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/GLOBSEC-Trends-2022.pdf)


The findings of the report are based on public opinion poll surveys carried out in March 2022 on a representative sample of the population in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The surveys were conducted on a sample of 1,000 respondents per country (9,000 respondents altogether) using stratified multistage random sampling in the form of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI).