Századvég: Political leaders in several member states are defying the people’s will

A recent survey suggests that there is a sharp divide in opinion among Europeans regarding the arming of Ukraine.

According to a recent survey by the Századvég Europe Project, only nine out of the 27 EU member states had more than half of their respondents agree that the EU and its members should not give arms to Ukraine. Several member states are, nevertheless, arming Ukraine despite the disapproval of their populations.

The analysis very clearly conveys the attitudes of EU citizens toward the issue of the European community sending weapons to Ukraine. But how did we get here?

The issue of arms transfers to Ukraine and the introduction and implementation of punitive measures by Brussels have dominated the public discourse in Europe since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

It should be emphasized that, similar to the sanctions imposed by Brussels, there are strong differences in opinion among Europeans regarding the issue of arming Ukraine's military.

However, the Századvég survey reveals that more people oppose arming Ukraine than support it in 13 of the EU's member states, with more than 50 percent of respondents in nine of those countries rejecting the idea.



Among others, 80 percent of Hungarians, 69 percent of Greeks, 62 percent of Austrians, and 57 percent of Czechs are opposed to the European Union and its member states purchasing weapons to support Ukraine.

It is significant to note that the Czech government has sent a sizable amount of arms to Ukraine, and yet more than half of those surveyed in the country oppose such action

In addition, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to supply 14 tanks to Ukraine at the end of January, the opposition to arming Ukraine in Germany is 5 percentage points higher than support for it, which stands at 44 percent.

According to the survey, there are more people in favor of arming Ukraine than against it in only five EU member states (Spain, Luxembourg, Romania, France, and Ireland), though their combined percentage is less than 50 percent.

Within these countries, despite the fact that less than half of Spaniards (49 percent) support sending weapons to Ukraine, Spain has already done so in the past and in January indicated its willingness to supply tanks.

Similar to Spain, France wants to donate more tanks to Kyiv in addition to the military hardware it has already given, even though less than half of French citizens (46 percent) are in favor of this.

More than half of respondents in nine EU countries—Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Portugal—support arming Ukraine.

The percentage of people who agree that the EU and its members should buy weapons for Ukraine is highest in Latvia (79 percent), Estonia (73 percent), and Poland (71 percent). Given that these nations directly border Russia, this outcome is not so surprising.

It can be concluded that in several EU member states, the political elites' decisions regarding the Russia-Ukraine war have fallen short of what the people in those countries believe to be the right course of action.

The lingering question that voters have to answer themselves is how can it happen that representatives do not properly represent the very people who elected them?