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23 Feb, 2024 18:05

French split over Ukraine’s EU bid – poll

Less than 40% of respondents voiced support Ukraine’s accession to the bloc, a fresh survey has shown
French split over Ukraine’s EU bid – poll

The prospect of Ukraine joining the EU has divided French society almost evenly, a new survey conducted by the CSA marketing research institute has shown. According to poll results published on Friday, 43% of people in France believe that such a move would spell trouble for their nation, while 39% would consider it a positive development.

EU leaders agreed to open accession talks for Kiev on December 14, 2023. The next step would require officials in Brussels to draft a negotiation framework for the negotiations. The process appears to be stalled for the next few months, as the EU Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen, told journalists earlier this week that the document was unlikely to be ready before summer.

The younger generations in France seem to be the least supportive of Kiev’s bid; the CSA survey of 1,011 respondents showed that 56% of those aged between 18 and 24 were against accepting Ukraine into the EU, while only 34% of the cohort said they would support such a move. Older French people appear to be more receptive to the idea, as 46% of those aged 65 or older saw it positively, with 37% taking the opposite view.

The most senior French respondents turned out to be the only age group that was supportive of Ukrainian membership of the bloc, since in all other age groups the majority opposed it. 

The French leadership also appeared to be somewhat skeptical about Kiev's attempts to join the EU. President Emmanuel Macron, told media late last year that the bloc was “very far” from accepting Ukraine as a full member. The president was commenting on the results of a December EU summit, where the decision to open accession talks was taken.

Other bloc members, like Hungary, are even more critical of the issue. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in particular has been a vocal critic of Brussels’ current approach to Kiev. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had also expressed his support for Budapest’s stance on relations with Ukraine.

Another poll conducted in mid-February indicated that 52% of Germans believe the EU should not accept Ukraine as a new member in the coming years. The same survey counted France among the EU nations where public opinion was in favor of the move, though. Other supposed backers of Kiev’s membership included Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

A survey published earlier this week also demonstrated that only 10% of EU citizens believed that Kiev could prevail in its ongoing conflict with Moscow. Twice as many respondents expected Russia to emerge victorious.