News > EMI: How do Europeans feel about the State of our Union and the War in Ukraine?

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  • 15th September 2022 - 14:56 UTC

EMI: How do Europeans feel about the State of our Union and the War in Ukraine?

Yesterday, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered a strong State of the Union speech. But to what extent did the speech, outlining the European Commission’s priorities for the coming year, reflect the concerns and feelings of Europeans across our continent?

Today, as we launch the report with data from the latest Listen to People’ opinion poll, you can discover this for yourself as we have outlined and summarised core findings from our opinion poll covering the most important issues of our time from countries across Europe.

ON SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY: Alarmingly, consistent support for democracy is below 50% in all countries surveyed. It remains in steep decline across Europe — most Europeans say their support for democracy has fallen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Clearly, “we can no longer take our democracies for granted”, as von der Leyen stated in the SOTEU address, so it is very timely that the EU takes a more active role in the “Defence of Democracy.”

ON RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE: While conventional wisdom is that most Europeans oppose Russia’s war, the answer is not as black and white. Rather it depends on where you are; 47% of Hungarians think Russia’s war is legitimate, as opposed to 14% in Finland. On some foreign entities, von der Leyen stated that, “their disinformation is spreading from the internet to the halls of our universities” which indeed is having a very negative effect on public attitudes in several countries.

ON EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY: Europeans seem ambivalent in their support for continued sanctions on Russia if they in turn negatively impact their lives (like higher gas prices). So, it is timely that von der Leyen expressly articulated significant energy reforms as a core priority to rid Europe of its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. That said, European solidarity within the Union remains very high, as most citizens feel that “we must do everything we can to help countries in need.”

For this and much more, click the button below to download the full Listen to People Report. It was also featured this week in POLITICO’s EU Influence.

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