The latest report has just been released transatlantic trenda by German Marshall Fund with Bertelsmann Foundation, which presents findings from surveys conducted in 14 countries in every corner of the transatlantic community. The survey, conducted between June and July 2022 — the months of war on the continent — asked about international order, security and defense, and relations with China.
It is precisely the war in Ukraine that seems to have changed the direction of transatlantic relations, especially after the chaotic withdrawal of Afghanistan and the announcement of the tripartite security agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States, which raised doubts about transatlantic relations. The future of said relationship now that Biden is hopefully in the White House. However, Russia’s war on Ukraine brought the United States and its European allies together like never before, and the United States has been leading, coordinating, and listening to Europeans ever since.
Today, however, things seem to be going well among the Allies, and calls for European strategic autonomy, by whatever name, are hardly heard. Because they are precisely divided between Brussels and Washington, therefore, the voices that emerge when Europeans no longer trust «American friends». It happened during the Trump administration, after hastily leaving Kabul or signing AUKUS. It can be inferred from this that when Brussels and Washington converge, European leaders consider efforts to achieve some kind of strategic autonomy less important, as is the case with Ukraine now.
However, public opinion does not seem to agree.have a look Transatlantic trends for 2022It can be seen that although two-thirds of the respondents believe that the United States is the most influential player in international affairs, their views have hardly changed despite the huge efforts made in the past eight months. On average, 62% of Europeans view the US as the most influential country, with Portugal (67%), Poland (67%) and Lithuania (66%) having the highest percentages. Respondents from the Netherlands (59%), France (59%) and Italy (56%) disagreed the least. In Spain, like Sweden and Turkey, this perception has fallen by three percentage points in a year.
On the other hand, 65% of respondents considered the EU’s impact to be very or generally positive, more beneficial than the US’s (57%) impact. Portugal (87%), Lithuania (78%), Romania (74%), Poland (71%), Sweden (70%), Spain and the Netherlands (both 69%) are very or generally positive about the impact of the alliance comprehensive.It is clear soft power EU jobs.
European public opinion not only yearns for a larger geopolitical EU, but also sees NATO and the EU as equally important in terms of national security. In particular, respondents from Southern and Eastern European countries considered the EU important to their national security. Portugal had 94% of respondents, Spain 82%, Romania 88%, Lithuania 87%, and Poland 85%. Although respondents in the Netherlands (77%), Sweden (76%), Germany (75%), Italy (75%) and France (73%) believe the EU is important to their national security, this figure is slightly lower than Average for all EU countries surveyed (81%).
The desire to increase the weight of the EU does not appear to conflict with the desire of the United States to participate in European defense, with larger increases in Sweden (72% in 2022 versus 45% in 2021), Spain (71% versus 60%) and the Netherlands (75% % vs. 66%). Public support for NATO has also multiplied. The number of respondents who consider NATO important has increased in the last year, from 67% in 2021 to 78% today. The perception grew even in a country like France, which faced a presidential election in which some candidates demanded to leave NATO’s unified command, from 52% to 72%. European public opinion therefore sees the roles of NATO, the EU, and the US military presence in Europe as fully complementary.
Alarms are sounding as respondents on both sides of the Atlantic expect Washington’s influence in the world to decline significantly over the next five years. Specifically, 37 percent of respondents expect the United States to become the world’s most influential power by 2027, a drop of 27 percentage points. reason?
Perhaps Europeans’ misgivings about the United States and its political polarization have not been dispelled. The upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8 suggest that Democrats will lose either chamber, which could translate into less support for Ukraine given the campaigning of some Republican candidates. That could undermine the transatlantic solidarity that has emerged so far over Ukraine, but it also raises questions about whether the strength and solidarity shown within NATO and between Brussels and Washington will offset tensions over energy and other economic issues , these tensions have divided the United States and the European Union.
Let us remember that last August, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Inflation Reduction Act, Massive fiscal commitments to address environmental, health and business tax issues based on incentives rather than regulations. The EU has complained that some of these incentives may violate World Trade Organization rules. The same is true of the CHIPS Act previously passed by the U.S. Senate, which plans to invest $54 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research to reduce U.S. dependence on China. The economic and commercial differences between the transatlantic partners do not appear to have disappeared.
But Europe also has misgivings. Less than half of those surveyed in the US ranked Germany (44%) and France (41%) as the three most influential countries in Europe, while confidence in Germany dropped 9% in the US and Spain percent, and 15 percent. in Poland and 11 in Turkey. And, in contrast, Germans’ confidence in the United States increased by 14 percentage points, compared with only two in France. When the two European powers talk about strategic autonomy again, it will be interesting to discuss how to close the gap between them.
Taken together, the findings of this study reflect a changing and in some cases unstable geopolitical environment.Current challenges, notably the war in Ukraine, increase the value of transatlantic cooperation, but future geopolitical threats may also destabilize status quoIn addition, the decline of US influence in Europe, the growing focus on the EU’s specific role in international affairs, and the lack of consensus on a transatlantic approach to China all point to new changes within this alliance.
The current transatlantic cohesion cannot be taken for granted.you have to take advantage of this momentum Once again for a stronger and more irreversible transatlantic partnership.
IMAGE: President Biden watches European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo by: The White House, via Flickr.