Wednesday

26th Jul 2017

Nato solidarity lacks public support

  • Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg in Norway (Photo: nato.int)

More than half of Germans, Italians, and French are opposed to using military force to help a Nato ally in a conflict with Russia, according to a survey published by US think tank Pew on Wednesday (10 June).

In Germany, 58 percent said their country should not get involved in a hypothetical conflict between Russia and a neighbouring Nato state, indicating an erosion of the solidarity on which the alliance is built.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, signed at the beginning of the Cold War in 1949, says that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all”.

Pew interviewed people in six European Nato members, as well as the US, and Canada.

The US, Canada, the UK, and Poland, were the only countries in which a majority of people supported Article V.

In Italy, 40 percent were in favour, and 51 percent against.

But, in a sign of how Europeans view US protection, large majorities in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK believe the US would use force against Russia even if their own states wouldn’t.

The poll, which also surveyed people in Ukraine and in Russia, and which focused on the conflict between those two countries, found that people in Poland (50 percent in favour) were more inclined to back sending weapons to Ukraine to support government forces, than those in Germany (18 percent in favour).

“Poles are more concerned about Russia’s role in the current crisis than other Nato publics,” Pew said.

Seventy percent of Polish people supported the statement that “Russia is a major military threat to neighbouring countries”, compared to 49 percent in other Nato states.

Views from Poland also stood out on blaming Russia for the violence in east Ukraine, with 57 percent of Poles doing so, compared to 37 percent in other Nato countries.

The research showed a profound change in attitudes between publics in Russia and the EU.

In 2011, 64 percent of Russians had a favourable view of the EU. Now, only 31 percent do. Attitudes towards Germany, the US, and Nato also plunged.

The public distrust is mutual.

In Poland, just 15 percent of people a favourable view of Russia, down from 45 percent four years ago. Of the eight surveyed Nato members, Russia has the most positive image in France (30 percent).

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin has lost most of his popularity in the west.

Only between 1 and 5 percent of those polled has confidence that Putin is doing “the right thing regarding world affairs”. Less than 20 percent have “some confidence”, with support lowest in Spain and Poland.

Europeans are also divided about accepting Ukraine as a member of the European Union.

"Roughly half or more of Germans (54%), French (53%) and Italians (47%) oppose allowing Ukraine to join the EU, while the Spanish (65% support), Poles (60%), and British (53%) support the idea", Pew said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  2. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  3. EU and US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  4. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  5. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  6. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas
  7. Russia's EU pipeline at 'risk' after US vote
  8. EU Commission to act on Poland