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News 19 Jun 17

Poles, Romanians Fervently pro-Western, Survey Shows

An opinion survey of seven countries conducted by the NGO Globsec highlights the staunchly pro-EU and pro-NATO views of Romanians and Poles compared to some other regional states.

Romanian parliament building. Photo: Pixabay

Poland and Romania emerge as the most steadfastly pro-Western of seven Central and Southeast European states whose citizens’ opinions on a range of EU and NATO-related topics have been analysed by the NGO Globsec.

The survey, conducted from February to April, Globsec trends 2017, looked at people’s views in three Central European countries - Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – and three Balkan states - Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania.

According to the results, 86 per cent of Poles and 75 per cent of Romanians would vote to stay in NATO – the highest percentages in the group.

Slovakia came bottom in this category. Less than half of those surveyed – 43 per cent – said they would vote to stay in the Western alliance.

Of the seven countries, only Poland and Romania fully supported NATO installations on their own soil.

People in Poland the Romania were almost the most pro-EU of the seven states.

In both of these countries, 80 per cent would vote to remain the in the EU – a stark contrast to the Eurosceptic Czechs, only 41 per cent of whom support membership.

In Bulgaria and Croatia, the figures were 72 and 70 per cent.

Turning to other aspects of “Western” values Bulgaria emerged as the least liberal state.

Surveyed on whether they preferred a strong autocracy, or a liberal democratic system, almost as many Bulgarians wanted the former as the latter.

Croatia came next, where 37 per cent of those surveyed wanted an autocratic system of government and 56 per cent wanted liberal democracy.

Surprisingly, given the reputation of its leader, Viktor Orban, Hungary emerged as the most liberal state. Over 70 per pent of Hungarians surveyed want a liberal democracy and only 26 per cent favour an autocratic system.

According to the survey’s authors, “People of this region are overwhelmingly democrats and reject authoritarian leaders. Yet, at the same time there seems to be a growing disillusionment with the political elites which correlates with an increasing desire for more direct control over the course of their countries.”

The website of the Bratislava-based NGO writes that GLOBSEC's main goal is to shape the global debate on security through conducting research activities and connecting key experts on foreign and security policy.

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