Warsaw, Poland – It has long been a known fact that Poland is among the U.S.’s closest ally in the EU – especially once (if) the U.K. exits the bloc.
A recent study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) once again confirms this observation while providing an in-depth understanding of how the Polish population perceives current world powers.
Poland most trustful of U.S. global influence in Europe
As the author of the study points out, “three years into Donald Trump’s tenure as US President, European voters seem ready to face the harsh reality of global politics” and “no longer believe that the US can serve as the guarantor of their security”.
While this may be true overall, perceptions widely vary from one country to the other. Asked which power they trust more between the EU and the US, nearly one fifth of Poles (19%) responded the U.S., the highest share among the 14 countries surveyed. Although usually acknowledged as one of the most pro-European nations in the bloc, less than half of the Polish respondents (41%) say they trust the EU more, while 26% of them answered “neither”.
Slovaks distrust the U.S., Czechs don’t trust anyone
Slovaks, on the other hand, were the least likely to trust the U.S. (only 3% of respondents, the lowest share, tied with Austria). Nearly half of respondents said they trusted the EU more (48%) and 40% replied “neither”.
Known for its deeply-entrenched Euroscepticism, the Czech Republic reported the second-highest share (after Greece) of the population trusting neither the EU nor the U.S. (54%), while Hungarians’ score appeared slightly more balanced than its Visegrad neighbours: trust in the U.S. and the EU stood at 14% and 39% respectively, with 36% unwilling to choose neither of them.
The Bear or the Eagle, pick a side
Which side would Europeans take should there be a conflict between the U.S. and Russia? The ECFR study highlights interesting differences among Central European countries.
In Poland, 33% of the population would pick the U.S. (the highest share among surveyed countries), while 45% wouldn’t choose neither Washington nor Moscow as their ally.
Reciprocally, Slovakia, long known for being the most pro-Russian country in Central Europe, if not the EU as a whole, reported the highest proportion of people who would pick the Russian bear (20%) over the American eagle (6%) in case of a conflict. It’s also one of the few countries (with Greece and Austria) where support for Russia is higher than support for the U.S.
In the Czech Republic and Hungary, respectively 23% and 13% of the population would side with the U.S. – although a vast majority of respondents in every European country surveyed (except for Poland) would prefer to stay out of the spat.
A similar pattern can be observed in the respondents’ answers regarding a hypothetical conflict between the U.S. and China (see graph below).