The majority of Austrians reject joining NATO, but are in favour of a more intensive EU security and defence policy. This is the result of a recent survey by the Austrian Society for European Policy (ÖGfE) in which 1000 people participated.
If a referendum on NATO accession were to be held now, six out of ten respondents would oppose it and two out of ten would be in favour. Another fifth gave no opinion on the matter. Opinion on this issue has remained relatively constant over the past three years.
“Unlike in Sweden and Finland, NATO membership is rejected by a large majority. Regardless of the ‘neutral’ basic mood that determines the opinion in this country, a majority is in favour of stronger cooperation between the EU countries in matters of security and defence, but also in favour of continued support for Ukraine (…)”, explained ÖGfE Secretary General Paul Schmidt.
One in two in favour of support for Ukraine
About half of the Austrian respondents consider it at least “rather important” that the EU and its member states continue to support Ukraine. Slightly more than a third, however, do not see it that way. Other participants did not commit themselves. Two-thirds advocate strengthening cooperation among EU member states in security and defence policy. This figure has hardly changed since March 2022.
EU sentiment has stabilised in recent months and is in line with the long-term average – despite – or rather because of – challenging times marked by war, inflation and climate concerns,” said Paul. Although scepticism and uncertainty are on the rise, “fundamental EU membership in Austria, especially in times of crisis, is out of the question.”
68 percent in favour of EU membership
According to the current online survey, 68 percent are in favour of Austria remaining a member of the EU. However, every fourth person is in favour of leaving. In September 2022, according to ÖGfE, 64 per cent were in favour of remaining in the EU and 27 per cent in favour of leaving. Thus, the approval rate has risen slightly.
What is urgently needed, however, are tangible solutions to problems and a more intensive examination of scepticism and criticism, because it is precisely major upheavals that need to be explained and discussed. Politicians are called upon to provide orientation, develop practical concepts for the future and actively introduce them on the European stage,” Paul concludes. The fluctuation margin of the survey is 3.16 percent. It was conducted in April by the opinion research institute “market”.
Source Kronen Zeitung – translated from the German.