On average, only 4% of respondents in 11 EU countries see Russia as an ally sharing European values, while 55% of respondents describe Russia as an adversary. This follows from the results investigation European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). At the same time, about 40% of respondents believe that after the end of the conflict in Ukraine with Russia, it is necessary to restore at least limited cooperation.
Who in Europe is more afraid – China or Russia
More than 20% of respondents in 11 countries have a positive attitude towards Russia, negative – 64%, follows from the ECFR survey. At the same time, 55% of respondents see Russia as an adversary “with whom Europe is in conflict”.
The most critical attitude towards Russia is in Denmark, Poland and Sweden – at least 70% of respondents perceive Moscow as an adversary there.
A more favorable attitude towards Russia, despite the conflict in Ukraine, is demonstrated by respondents in Bulgaria and Italy. In Bulgaria, 65% of respondents perceive Russia as a necessary ally or partner, in Italy – 24%.
Europeans surveyed treat China better than Russia. 46.3% of respondents see China as an ally or partner, 35% see China as a rival or competitor (the rest did not decide on an answer).
“The survey results show that European perceptions of China have changed surprisingly little compared to the 2021 survey results. In almost all the countries we surveyed, the prevailing view is that China is a partner needed both for the EU and for the individual country (in which the respondent lives)”, notes the ECFR.
Although Europeans surveyed are aware that Russia and China are partners on the world stage, they do not see the same risks in economic relations with Beijing as in relations with Moscow, ECFR analysts say.
At the same time, a significant part of the respondents believe that the EU should give a firm answer to China if it decides to intervene in the conflict in Ukraine on the side of Russia.
Survey participants were also asked to imagine a hypothetical situation in which China transferred weapons to Russia to support Moscow in the conflict with Ukraine. More than 40% of Europeans believe that in this case sanctions should be imposed on China, “even if it will harm the European economy”.
The survey under the aegis of the ECFR was conducted in April in 11 countries of the European Union: Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden. The total sample was 16.2 thousand people.
What to do with Russia after the end of the conflict
Although relations between Russia and the EU are now in crisis, the Europeans polled are ready to restore dialogue with Moscow if the conflict in Ukraine ends with the signing of a peace agreement, according to the survey of the ECFR. 48% of respondents in 11 countries said it would be necessary to build limited relations with Russia, 21% are ready for a full partnership with Moscow.
However, a significant minority of respondents in some countries believe there is no need to re-establish ties with Russia even after the end of hostilities in Ukraine. This opinion is notably shared by almost 40% of the Poles questioned and 26% of the Danes.
“In almost all countries, the prevailing opinion is that Europe should maintain limited relations with Russia, for example, trade with it only in certain industries. This lays the foundation for forming a consensus of European public opinion (on the issue of relations with Russia) when the time comes to reset relations with Moscow,” ECFR analysts say.
Read the Latest Ukraine War News on The Eastern Herald.