The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, assured Ukraine of unwavering support and proposed additional EUR 50 billion in aid, in addition to the EUR 83 billion already granted. The amount would be paid by EU Member States, and the EU would use it to fund Ukraine’s expenditure until 2027. The Brussels strategy behind the package is to support Ukraine until it defeats Russia. However, as the time horizon of the Commission’s proposal shows, the idea would lead to a prolongation of the war, and its effectiveness is also highly questionable.
Seven out of ten Europeans would end the war immediately
Századvég’s Europe Project survey found that only a fifth of EU citizens agree with the Brussels idea, with 72% preferring the alternative of bringing the parties to the negotiating table and ending the war immediately.
The only Member State where a relative majority (49%) of the population agrees with the Commission’s strategy is Estonia. The stance for an immediate end to the war has an absolute majority in every other EU country, with a two-thirds majority in 20 Member States. The most pro-peace countries are Hungary (89%), Greece (87%), Malta (86%), Cyprus (85%) and Slovenia (85%).
Three quarters of Europeans would urge the parties to negotiate peace
The Brussels plan is not guaranteed to succeed, and it is quite possible that Ukraine will not be able to defeat Russia, despite continued EU funding. It would therefore seem that the real alternative to immediate peace talks is not a victory for Ukraine, but a protracted war with an uncertain outcome, so it is worth considering the effort to end the conflict in itself. The survey reveals that the pro-peace stance alone has an even stronger public support in the European Union, at 75%, and exceeds the absolute majority in all Member States.
The relative position of the countries is similar to the first question, with Estonia and Finland being the least pro-peace (56% in each country), while Cyprus (90%), Greece (88%), Hungary (88%), Malta (84%) and Slovakia (84%) are the most pro-peace.
In the first half of 2016, the Századvég Foundation conducted a public opinion survey covering the 28 Member States of the European Union to examine the views of European citizens on the issues that most affect the future of the Union. The Project28 public opinion survey was the most extensive ever, with a unique survey of 1,000 randomly selected adults per country, totalling 28,000. The main objectives of the survey were to gauge public sense of prosperity and to explore public attitudes towards the performance of the European Union, the migration crisis and rising terrorism. Following the surveys of 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Századvég Foundation, on behalf of the Hungarian government, continued the research since 2020 under the name Project Europe, which continued to reflect on the most dominant topics in European political and public discourse.
Once again, the 2023 survey aimed to explore public attitudes to the most important public issues affecting our continent. In addition to the public sense of prosperity, the performance of the European Union, climate change and the migration crisis, this year’s polls focus on the Russia-Ukraine war, the energy crisis, energy supply and family policy, in line with the new challenges facing Europe. The 2023 survey covered the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland, and a total of 30,000 randomly selected adults were interviewed using CATI between 26 April and 22 June.