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Europeans largely welcome Ukraine’s EU membership bid – polls

A new 6-country survey of over 6,000 Europeans revealed support for Ukraine’s EU membership bid, especially in Eastern European countries like Poland and Romania. Germany and France resist Ukraine’s EU accession
Polling of six EU member states from 7-19 November 2023. Credit: European Council on Foreign Relations.
Europeans largely welcome Ukraine’s EU membership bid – polls

Europeans are “generally open” to the idea of Ukraine joining the EU, despite “the costs and risks,” the Guardian reported, citing the results of recent polls.

The polling of over 6,000 people in 6 EU member states discovered sizeable support for Ukraine’s membership bid, especially in Denmark and Poland where 50% and 47% back accession respectively.

“There is considerable support for the candidacies of Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, Moldova and Montenegro,” reports Piotr Buras, ECFR senior policy fellow. However, he cautions that “geopolitical rhetoric from Brussels is masking deep concerns in member states about the potential consequences of enlargement.”

The survey exposes disagreements between Western and Eastern European countries on enlargement. While 50% of Germans and 44% in France oppose new members joining, 51% of Romanians and 48% of Poles support EU expansion. “We identified a clear divide between ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU member states,” said Buras.

Polling of six EU member states from 7-19 November 2023. Credit: European Council on Foreign Relations.

Despite general openness to Ukraine’s bid, many harbour economic and security worries. Some 45% think it would negatively impact EU security. “There are also fears about the impact of enlargement on the EU’s political power,” reports show.

However, Poland and Denmark were the most optimistic about this, with 43% and 35% of citizens believing Ukraine’s accession would have a positive impact.

Since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the enlargement of Ukraine has become an urgent EU priority. On 8 November the European Commission recommended Ukraine start membership talks.

While this week’s summit would focus on pathways to membership for Ukraine and others, the debate about how exactly to achieve it “has scarcely begun”, said Piotr Buras, a senior ECFR policy fellow, who called for a “concrete timeline” for accession.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said it would be “devastating” for Kyiv and the EU if the summit did not back the start of accession talks. “I cannot imagine.

“I don’t even want to talk about the consequences,” the Guardian reports, citing Kuleba.

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