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Poll: Europeans generally open to Ukraine's accession to EU; Denmark, Poland most supportive

Austria shows the least support for Ukraine's accession to the EU. 

Europeans are generally open to the idea of Ukraine joining the EU, despite the costs and risks, but lukewarm at best about the bloc’s prospective enlargement to also take in Georgia and countries in the western Balkans, according to a survey. This was reported by The Guardian, citing a survey of six EU member states for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

According to the survey, respondents showed significant support for candidacies of Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, Moldova and Montenegro. There is widespread opposition to the eventual accession of Turkey in particular, as well as a markedly cool response to the prospect of Albania, Bosnia, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia joining the union.

The polling found support for Ukraine’s entry highest in Denmark (50%) and Poland (47%), with opinion roughly divided in Romania (32% for, 29% against), Germany (37% for, 39% against), and France (29% for, 35% against). Austria was 52% opposed.

However, 45% of respondents were concerned Ukraine’s accession would have a negative impact on the EU’s security, against 25% who felt it would enhance it, while 39% believed Kyiv’s entry would negatively affect their country’s security.

Photo: The Guardian

Many Europeans saw no economic benefit to Ukrainian membership. While 43% of respondents in Poland and 37% in Romania saw a positive impact for the EU’s economy, 54% in Denmark and 46% in Austria foresaw a cost.

There were also fears about the impact of enlargement on the EU’s political power in the world. Poland and Denmark were the most optimistic about this, with 43% and 35% of citizens believing Ukraine’s accession would have a positive impact.

In Austria (42%) and Germany (32%), however, the most prevalent view was that Ukrainian membership would reduce the EU’s political power in the world, while respondents in France and Romania were more evenly split.

The ECFR identified a clear divide between “old” and “new” EU member states on the broader principle of enlargement. Respondents in Austria (53%), Germany (50%) and France (44%) were the most likely to feel the EU should not admit new members.

Photo: The Guardian

"Geopolitical rhetoric from Brussels is masking deep concerns in member states about the potential consequences of enlargement, and widespread scepticism about the EU’s ability to absorb new members," said ECFR Senior Research Fellow Piotr Buras. 

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