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NEWS ANALYSIS FROM GERMANY

Germans see the EU and NATO as guarantors of peace and security

April 2024: Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germans regard a wider European conflict as a possibility. In a recent poll by the national broadcaster ARD*, some two-thirds of Germans believe that peace and security in Europe are threatened by Russia. In similar research, five years ago, some 60 per cent of Germans could not imagine a war in Europe.

 

Some 75 years after the foundation of NATO, membership in the defence alliance is regarded as vital for the country’s security. More than 80 per cent of Germans believe the organisation secures peace. Support for NATO has changed little during the past 15 years and it is broadly anchored in society, both in the West and in the East of the country, across all party supporters, age and income groups, according to the ARD research.

 

“For 69 per cent of respondents, it is in Europe's interest to maintain a joint alliance with the USA. Only nine per cent currently consider NATO to be superfluous and are in favour of dissolving it.” Supporters of the right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) are the most sceptical about the military alliance: Some 23 per cent of the party’s supporters want NATO to be dissolved as, in their opinion, it harms relations with Russia.

 

Germans also believe that the EU is important for peace in Europe. The ARD research found that almost 70 per cent of people taking part in the survey are convinced that the EU made Europe safer.

 

“Supporters of the Greens (93 per cent), the centre-left Social Democrats (87%) and the centre-right Christion Democrats (78%) are most likely to see the EU as a guarantor of peace, while supporters of the far-right AfD (42%) are more reserved in their assessment of the EU's role.”

 

Almost 60 per cent of Germans also favour the creation of a European army. The ARD research says that the war in Ukraine had given the topic a new urgency. “It is fuelled by the prospect of a possible further term in office for Donald Trump as US president, as he indirectly called on the Russian president during the pre-election campaign to attack those NATO states that spend less than the agreed two per cent of their gross domestic product on defence.”

 

 

* The ARD is a joint organisation of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters. It was founded in 1950 in West Germany to represent the common interests of the new, decentralised, post-war broadcasting services, in particular the introduction of a joint television network.

 

The research was carried out in early April 2024.

 

 

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