Most Europeans Don't Really Hate America Anymore

Obama Sarkozy

An annual survey of US and European public opinion on a variety of transatlantic issues was released today, highlighting American and Europeans takes on foreign policy, NATO, and rising economic powers, among other topics.

The Transatlantic Trends survey “paints a picture of a complex relationship between the United States and Europe and how they respond to global challenges,” particularly at the end of a chaotic decade of war, economic crisis, and a changing world order, according to the survey report.

Contrary to popular belief, European support for the US is still strong.

Nothing has been more emblematic of the transatlantic relationship than how Europeans related to the two US presidents of this time. The low approval of George W. Bush‘s management of foreign policy quickly turned into euphoric optimism when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. This almost overnight change of public opinion toward the US president demonstrated that the basics of transatlantic cooperation remained strong and had not eroded during Bush’s presidency, despite his unpopularity among the European public.

Polling was conducted between May 25 and June 17, 2011, in the US, Turkey, and 12 European Union member states.

Some key findings:

  • 54 per cent of Europeans said they wanted the US to exert “strong leadership” in world affairs. 70-three per cent said they supported President Obama’s efforts to fight terrorism.
  • 50-one per cent of Americans believe Asia influences their national interests more than members of the European Union, while 38 per cent felt the EU mattered more. 50-two per cent of EU respondents still consider the US more integral to their national interests than Asia.
  • 60-seven per cent of EU respondents still felt that their countries benefited from EU membership, despite the economic crisis and the heavily-criticised bailouts of EU members, but 53 per cent thought using the euro was harmful to their economy.
  • Although Americans are wary about the idea of “democracy promotion” in Libya (only 37 per cent support it) European support is strong at 69 per cent.
  • Americans supported putting more pressure on Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian peace processes, while Europeans supported putting more pressure on Israel.
  • Pakistan was the least popular country – only 26 per cent of EU respondents said they had a favourable view of the country and only 18 per cent of Americans did.
  • 60-two per cent of EU and American respondents said they still considered NATO essential.
  • 60-six per cent of both EU and American respondents supported a drawdown or total removal of foreign troops in Afghanistan. 50-six per cent of Americans and 66 per cent of Europeans were pessimistic about the possibility of stabilizing Afghanistan.

For the full report, visit Transatlantic Trends online.

This post originally appeared at The Christian Science Monitor.

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