Bulgarians Support EU Defense Policy but Hesitate on Aid to Ukraine

Politics | May 24, 2024, Friday // 11:02|  views

Two-thirds (66%) of Bulgarians support the idea of a common European Union defense and security policy. This level of support surpasses that of countries like Portugal, Sweden (which was recently non-aligned militarily), and traditionally neutral nations like Ireland and Austria.

However, when asked about the immediate and significant threat concerning the purchase and supply of weapons to Ukraine, about the same proportion (62%) of Bulgarians are against it, similar to the sentiment in Cyprus.

Regarding financial aid to Ukraine, less than half (47%) of Bulgarians are in favor, marking the lowest support within the EU for aiding the nation that has faced the most extensive and destructive aggression since World War II.

These findings are from a Eurobarometer survey conducted through personal interviews from April 3-28, 2024.

Bulgarians and Cypriots continue to show the least approval for sanctions against Russia, its companies, and individuals. Less than half (46%) of Bulgarians approve of this approach, while more (44%) are against it, and 10% are undecided. The EU average stands at 72% approval and 23% disapproval.

Bulgaria also exhibits the least support within the EU for accepting war refugees (44% "Yes", 30% "No"), and only slightly leads Romania in agreeing to humanitarian aid for those affected by wars (80% "Yes", 17% "No").

Bulgaria is among the four EU countries with less than 50% approval for granting Ukraine candidate status for EU membership, with only 43% in favor. The other countries are Cyprus, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

When asked about their views on defense, 70% of Bulgarians favor joint military equipment purchases, 69% support increased sector cooperation, 53% advocate for increased production capacity, and 47% call for more defense investment.

Additional data from the Eurobarometer survey includes:

  • 77% of Europeans support a common defense and security policy among EU countries.
  • 71% agree the EU should enhance its military equipment production capacity.
  • 67% believe the EU is a stable entity in a troubled world, with 68% of Bulgarians agreeing.

34% of Europeans see security and defense as the EU's priority action area in the medium term, followed by climate and environment (30%), health (26%), and the economy and migration (25% each).

87% of EU citizens support humanitarian aid for those affected by Russia's war against Ukraine, and 83% agree with accepting war refugees. 72% endorse economic sanctions against Russia, and 70% support financial aid to Ukraine.

47% of respondents view the state of the European economy as "good"—the highest level since 2019—showing an improvement over autumn 2023. Additionally, 45% believe the economic situation in Europe will remain stable over the next 12 months.

Support for the euro stands at 70%, with 78% backing the eurozone.

Ahead of the European Parliament elections, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents feel like EU citizens, the highest level in over two decades. Trust in the EU has also increased to 49%, while trust in national governments is at 33%.

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Tags: Bulgaria, EU, defense, Ukraine

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