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Should Ukraine join the EU? Spaniards think so

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Should Ukraine join the EU? Spaniards think so
A pro-EU demonstration in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo: Evgeny Feldman / Wikimedia Commons.
11:06 CEST+02:00
Nearly two-thirds of Spaniards polled by Pew Research Center said they were in favour of Ukraine joining the European Union, more than any other NATO country surveyed.

According to the Pew report published on Wednesday, 65 percent of Spanish respondents said they thought Ukraine should join the EU in response to the conflict involving Russia.

Spaniards supported this idea more than any of the other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) nations surveyed in the poll.

Germans, Italians and French respondents all voiced more opposition to Ukraine becoming part of the EU, with more than 50 percent of respondents in both Germany and France saying they opposed Ukrainian EU membership. In Italy, just 37 percent supported Ukraine joining while 47 percent said they were against the idea. 

Division over Ukraine Joining EU

Pew conducted the survey to reflect how citizens of NATO countries view the Ukrainian conflict and the role that the intergovernmental military alliance should play.

While many NATO respondents, including those in Spain, said they thought the US would defend its allies militarily if they got into a conflict with Russia, many seemed reluctant for their own country to act.

In Spain, 70 percent said the US would help its NATO allies if Russia became a threat, but respondents were more divided on whether Spain should do the same in such a situation.

Almost half, (48 percent) said Spain should militarily defend another NATO ally against Russia, while 47 percent said the country should not get involved.

Many NATO Countries Reluctant to Use Force to Defend Allies

In the Ukrainian conflict, Spaniards expressed the most enthusiasm for sending economic support to Ukraine with 77 percent responding that Western countries should provide such aid to the conflict-torn country.

But Spaniards, like most of the other NATO countries, were reluctant to provide arms to the Ukraine. Only a quarter of Spanish respondents said they thought NATO should provide arms to the Ukrainian government.

Poland, Canada and the United States were the only countries where a larger portion of people supported sending arms than those who opposed it.

While Polish respondents were most worried about Russia becoming a military threat to other neighbouring countries, many Spaniards also saw this as a concern. Just 10 percent said Russia was not a threat to nearby nations while 49 percent said Russia was a major threat and 38 percent saw it as a minor threat.

"There is widespread public concern in some NATO member states that Russia poses a military threat to neighboring countries aside from Ukraine," the Pew report said.

However, Spaniards also expressed the least positive views of NATO, with 47 percent saying they had a favourable view of the alliance - making Spain the only country where less than half of the people had a positive perspective on NATO.

This is a drop since 2009 when 56 percent of Spaniards expressed positive opinions about the organisation.

Poland showed the highest positivity at 74 percent.

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