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15 Feb, 2024 03:40

Most Germans against Ukraine joining EU – poll

A new survey highlights a divide between officials in Berlin and the German public
Most Germans against Ukraine joining EU – poll

A majority of Germans are against Ukraine joining the European Union, according to recent polling data, which also suggested growing skepticism toward Western sanctions on Moscow and the burden of post-war “reconstruction” in Ukraine.

Conducted by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation and published on Wednesday, the survey indicated that 52% of Germans believe the EU should not accept Kiev as a member in the coming years.

The result contrasted with stronger support for Ukrainian membership throughout the bloc, where majorities favored the move in six other member states (Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain), according to the poll. The German government has also backed membership talks, with officials meeting in Brussels last year to discuss the issue.

Germans who identified with political parties on the extreme left and right were less likely to support Kiev joining the union, with 81% of the nationalist Alternative for Germany opposing the move and 74%, of the leftist Reason and Justice Alliance taking that view.

Asked whether Berlin should continue arms deliveries to Ukrainian forces, a slim majority of 53% agreed, with support strongest among the Greens and centrist factions such as the Christian Democratic Union and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party.

The new survey appeared to show growing reluctance among Germans regarding Ukraine’s “reconstruction” after the conflict with Russia, with 69% of respondents viewing that cost as an “economic burden” rather than an “opportunity.” A comparable proportion also questioned the impact of Western sanctions on Moscow, with 59% viewing the measures as “ineffective.” Just 22% agreed the penalties had their intended effect, while 19% answered “don’t know.”

Support for accepting Ukrainian refugees remained strong, with 64% of those polled saying their country should take in people fleeing the conflict. Among political parties, Alternative for Germany was a major outlier on that question, as 76% of respondents who identified with the faction said Germany should not open its doors to refugees. 

The Bertelsmann Foundation conducts surveys in EU states every three months, providing data for the ‘euopinions’ research tool. Meant to represent public opinion across the bloc, the latest poll had a sample size of 13,299 people from seven member states – with 1,834 respondents in Germany.