The shock brought on by the return of territorial war to Europe and the destruction, suffering and flow of refugee associated with it, as well as the courage and determination demonstrated by countless Ukrainians, have left their marks on European public opinion.

Clearly wanting to express their solidarity with Ukraine, Europeans wish to see politicians take decisive actions in the face of aggression. However, many Europeans also express growing concerns about their future prospects and current financial situation.

Our new eupinions study seeks to shed light on how public opinions and attitudes in Europe have evolved since the beginning of the war in Ukraine by presenting evidence based on a two-wave survey of nearly 12,000 EU citizens conducted between March 11 and 23 and June 3 and 26 of 2022 in an interview format.

eupinions is an independent platform for European public opinion. Since 2015 we collect, analyse and comment on what the European public thinks about current political issues and megatrends. Every quarter, we collect samples from each EU member state in 22 languages.

The following are our key findings in a nutshell:

  • A broad majority of EU citizens (71%) think that the European Union should play an important role in world affairs and consider the combination of military power, economic strength, attractive values and strong allies necessary in this regard.
  • The United States is considered by far to be the most trustworthy partner in global politics (77%).
  • When asked about measures in support of Ukraine, Europeans generally support delivering weapons to Ukraine (60%), welcoming Ukrainian refugees (81%), and welcoming Ukraine into the European Union (66%).
  • Support for EU enlargement more generally has seen the biggest shift compared to pre-war attitudes, with a majority of EU citizens now in favor of welcoming new member states to the European Union (71%).
  • Europeans remain in favor of delivering weapons, but express greater caution with regard to this issue. We also see important differences between member states on this issue. 84% of Poles support delivering weapons while only 42% of Italians do. Interestingly, more Europeans are in favor of the EU delivering weapons (60%) than they are of their home countries doing so (54%).
  • When asked about whether the EU should deepen integration by creating, for example, a common European defense and security policy or by becoming more energy independent even if it comes at a cost, Europeans overwhelmingly support such steps (88% and 72%, respectively). Remarkably, however, younger Europeans are less supportive than their older cohorts when it comes to both issues.
  • We find close to no time effects. Even as the war progresses, opinions and attitudes remain remarkably stable. French public opinion shows the most changes, which might be attributed to the country’s extended electoral season.
  • This is all the more noteworthy in light of the worsening financial situation of European citizens. Asked about their most pressing personal worries, the rising costs of living crisis very clearly tops the list. Asked whether their personal outlook on the future is positive or negative, 46 per cent EU-wide say it’s negative, compared to just 37 per cent this time last year. Again, French and Italian citizens are most pessimistic with 59 and 55 per cent having a negative outlook.


Outstanding elections and a looming energy crisis may very well make for a hot political fall in the EU. So far, EU countries have managed to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Our data shows a desire among European citizens to support the people of Ukraine.

At the same time, however, concerns about one’s future and finances are growing. With prices and fears of further economic disruption on the rise, Europeans’ desire to help will likely be tested.

This particularly goes for the possible rationing of gas supplies, a prospect that European citizens haven’t had to face since the end of World War II. Thus far, however, their willingness to support the people of Ukraine has passed this test with flying colors.

Touching upon the shared memory and personal histories of societies, matters of war and peace will likely provoke varying responses across member states. Leaders should not simply rely on the consistently high numbers of support for Ukraine. Instead, they should continuously make the case for solidarity with Ukraine in an effort to convey how it protects our livelihood and our European future.

Read more on trends and public opinion polls:

European citizens back help for Ukraine. Meanwhile, their personal prospects are deteriorating

Five Takeaways from Transatlantic Trends 2022: Public Opinion in Times of Geopolitical Turmoil

About the author

Isabell Hoffmann is Senior Expert at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and head of „eupinions“. eupinions is an independent platform for European public opinion. As an expert researcher on democracy and legitimacy in the European Union, she has managed research projects on the role of national parliaments in the EU as well as the origins and impact of populism, nationalism and authoritarianism in Europe.