Transatlantic Trends 2022 carried out by the German Marshall Fund, a US think tank, in 14 countries (Turkey, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA) with the contribution of the Kondrad Adenauer Foundation. The opinion poll reveals that the influence of the USA and the European Union has decreased, while the effectiveness of China and Russia has increased. The main findings of the opinion poll, which is divided into four main sections: global order, transatlantic relations, international security and defense, and relations with China, are as follows:
“CHINA’S IMPACT WILL DOUBLE”
The US is still seen as the most influential country, but respondents predict that US influence on the global order will decline sharply over the next 5 years.
64 percent of the participants see the USA as the most influential actors in global relations, 17 percent the EU, 13 percent China and 6 percent Russia.
However, according to the predictions of the participants, the rate of those who say that the most influential actor in the next five years will be the USA drops by 27 points to 37 percent. The rate of those who expect the EU to be the most influential actor drops by 2 percentage points to 15 percent. Those predicting that China will be the most influential actor have almost doubled from 13 percent to 25 percent. The rate of those who say that Russia will be the most influential actor in the next 5 years increases by 4 points to 10 percent.
The rate of those who predict that China will increase its influence in Turkey is 30%. The rate of those who predict that Russia’s influence will increase is 15%. In Italy, 44 percent of respondents think that China will increase its influence. The country with the highest percentage of respondents saying that Russia is one of the most influential powers at the moment is Turkey with 10 percent.
THE IMPACT OF THE USA IS LOWER IN THE EYES OF YOUTH
The younger generations have a relatively negative view of the US influence on the world order. The percentage of respondents aged 18-24 who say the USA is ‘the most influential’ is decreasing. For example, in Poland, the rate of those aged 65+ who see the USA as one of the most influential powers is 86 percent, while this rate is 39 percent for young Poles.
The EU’s power of influence is also much lower than that of the younger age group. For example, while 37 percent of the 65+ people see the EU as the most influential power in Germany, only 7 percent of the youth see the EU as a globally influential power. In the Netherlands, this ratio is 38 percent to 9 percent.
PUBLIC DOES NOT SUPPORT MILITARY INTERVENTION IN TAIWAN
One of the important findings of the survey, which took place predominantly in Western countries, is that in case of a military intervention by China in Taiwan, sending weapons or soldiers is not supported. Participants favor diplomatic steps and joint sanctions.
The EU and NATO are still considered very important to the security of their countries for the majority of participants.
A large majority in Turkey and the UK think that the EU is important for the security of their countries.
Majority of the participants in Turkey want global problems to be solved only by working with ‘democracies’.
A vast majority in Lithuania, Poland and Romania consider NATO ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for their country’s security.
EUROPEANS: LET’S MANAGE RELATIONS WITH CHINA WITHOUT US
European participants prefer the EU to manage their relations with China and Russia by working together with the USA, rather than managing them by working together.
Evaluating relations with China is a challenging issue for the public. In some countries, when asked whether China is a partner, a competitor or an adversary, he answers “I don’t know”.
The strongest support for a tougher stance against China is in France.
When it comes to new technologies, participants in many countries prefer to cooperate with China rather than take a hard line against China.
After Romania, Turkey is the country that finds China’s influence in global relations the most positive. While 4 percent of the participants find the Chinese effect ‘very positive’, 26% find it ‘positive in general’. In Romania, these rates are 10 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
GERMANY IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE COUNTRY IN EUROPE
Sweden is seen as the most reliable partner for all countries except Turkey. 71 percent of the participants are of this opinion. Canada and Germany are also reliable partners, according to 70 percent of respondents.
While 75 percent of the participants rate Germany as the most influential country in Europe, France comes in second place with 65 percent and England comes in third place with 55 percent.
The country with the lowest confidence in Germany is Turkey with 43 percent. In Portugal, 84 percent of respondents see Germany as a reliable partner.
The biggest difference between the rate of those who call their own country “the most influential country in Europe” and the general survey results is in Turkey. While 34 percent of respondents in Turkey place Turkey among the three most influential countries in Europe, only 8 percent of general respondents agree. Italians are also among the countries with the highest divergence of opinion, with 31 percent versus 13 percent overall survey results.
EVEN THROUGH INCREASED TRUST IN TURKEY STILL ‘THE MOST TRUSTED’ COUNTRY
One of the most striking results of the survey is that Turkey is seen as the most unreliable partner across the countries surveyed. The rate of those who find Turkey safe in Sweden, which is opposed to NATO membership but has been agreed upon for membership if some conditions are fulfilled for now, dropped to 11 percent with a 5 percentage point decrease. The rate of respondents who find Turkey reliable throughout the survey is 27 percent. Compared to 2021, the rate of those who find Turkey a reliable partner has increased by 4 points.
1 in 3 Americans: DEMOCRACY IS IN DANGER
Nearly one in three US respondents think that democracy in the US is in danger.
Only 21 percent of respondents in Turkey are satisfied with the state of democracy, which is the lowest rate overall in the survey.
In Poland (36 percent) and Italy (31 percent), only a small fraction of the public is satisfied with the state of democracy.
The majority of respondents in Europe approve of US President Joe Biden’s handling of international relations. The rate of those who approve of Biden is highest in Poland and the lowest in Turkey.
There is strong support for Finland and Sweden to join NATO in all countries except Turkey.
A strong majority wants the US to be involved in Europe’s defense. Compared to 2021, the countries where this opinion has increased the most are Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands.
The biggest threat: War, Russia and the climate crisis
In the survey conducted on both sides of the Atlantic, the three factors that respondents see as the biggest security problem in 2022 are wars (18 percent), climate crisis (18 percent) and Russia (17 percent). Italy, France and Canada are countries where the public sees the climate crisis as the biggest security threat.
For participants in countries close to Ukraine, war and Russia are seen as a greater threat: in Germany 21 percent of respondents consider Russia, 22 percent a war, in Poland 35 percent Russia 25 percent. I see a war as the greatest threat.
The factors that respondents in Turkey see as security threats are very different from the overall survey. Migration is seen as the biggest security threat for 37 percent of respondents in Turkey. 17 percent of the participants state that they are worried about nuclear armament, and cite this as the most important or second important security risk. Terrorism ranks third with 16 percent, while an interstate war ranks fourth with 15 percent. The climate crisis, on the other hand, is seen as a security threat by only 8 percent of respondents. Only 3% see Russia as a security threat.