France split over Ukraine’s EU bid – poll

Less than 40% of the French support Ukraine’s accession to the bloc, a fresh survey has shown

The prospect of Ukraine joining the EU has divided French society almost evenly, a new survey conducted by the CSA marketing research institute has shown. According to the poll results published on Friday, 43% of people in France believe that such a move would spell trouble for their nation, while 39% would consider it a positive development.

EU leaders agreed to open accession talks for Kiev on December 14, 2023. The next step would require officials in Brussels to draft a negotiation framework for the negotiations. The process appears to be stalled for the next few months, as the EU Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen, told journalists earlier this week that the document was unlikely to be ready before summer.

The younger generations in France seem to be the least supportive of Kiev’s bid; the CSA survey showed that 56% of those aged between 18 and 24 spoke against accepting Ukraine into the EU, while only 34% of this group said they would support such a move. Older French people appear to be more receptive to the idea, as 46% of those aged 65 or older saw it positively, with 37% preferring the opposite view.

The most senior French respondents turned out to be the only age group that was mostly supportive of taking Ukraine into the bloc, since all other age groups saw more people opposing the idea rather than backing it.

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Most Germans against Ukraine joining EU – poll

The French leadership also appeared to be somewhat skeptical about letting Ukraine join the bloc. The nation’s president, Emmanuel Macron, told media late last year that the EU was “very far” from accepting Kiev as a full member. The president was commenting on the results of the December summit, where the decision to open the accession talks was taken.

Other EU members, like Hungary, are even more critical of the issue. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in particular has been a vocal critic of Brussels’ current approach to Kiev. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had also expressed his support for Budapest’s stance on relations with Ukraine.

Another poll conducted in mid-February indicated that 52% of Germans believe the EU should not accept Ukraine as a new member in the coming years. The same survey counted France among the EU nations where public opinion was in favor of the move, though. Other supposed backers of Kiev’s membership included Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

A survey published earlier this week also demonstrated that only 10% of EU citizens believed that Kiev could prevail in its ongoing conflict with Moscow. Twice as many respondents expected Russia to emerge victorious.

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