A majority of Europeans are in favor of Ukraine joining the European Union, but public opinion in the bloc’s three biggest members is more ambivalent, according to data released Tuesday.
A survey released by the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) thinktank shows support for Ukraine’s EU bid stands at 57% across 10 key European countries but falls to 48% in Germany, 47% in France and 46% in Italy.
Support is strongest in Ukraine’s neighbor, Poland, with 70% in favor, followed by 69% in Portugal and Finland, 66% in Sweden, and 58% in Spain.
The ECFR poll was conducted in 9 EU countries -- Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden -- and former EU member Britain, ahead of a June 23 - 24 EU summit expected to decide on Ukraine’s candidate status.
Recognizing Ukraine as a formal candidate would open up a process that could eventually see Ukraine join the EU -- a major geopolitical realignment for the former Soviet country currently facing a war with Russia.
The road to the membership for Kyiv would take at least 15 years, according to experts.
The ECFR poll was conducted online through the Datapraxis and YouGov institutes with a sample of nearly 8,200 respondents between April 28 and May 22, with a margin of error of 3 to 4%./aa