EU citizens support joint defense policy after 2 years of war in Ukraine

German and European Union citizens are showing increasing concern for the situation in Ukraine as the 2024 election year approaches in both the EU and the US. According to a recent study, a majority of citizens in both the EU and Germany continue to support aid for Ukraine, particularly from centrist political parties.

However, the study also found that there is strong support for a joint European defence policy across party lines, with 87 percent of all EU citizens and 86 percent of Germans in favor of the idea.

The study, conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation, found that two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost nine out of 10 German and EU citizens believe that the EU needs a joint defence policy. Additionally, a majority of European and German citizens continue to express their support for Ukraine, both politically and militarily.

Specifically, the study found that most citizens support supplying armaments to Ukraine, taking in refugees, and reducing dependence on Russian energy supplies. The majority of EU citizens also support allowing Ukraine to join the EU.

The study also revealed that support for arms deliveries to Ukraine is strongest among supporters of centrist political parties in Germany. However, there is a significant difference in opinion among supporters of fringe parties, with 82 percent of AfD supporters against providing armaments, 76 percent against taking in refugees, and 81 percent rejecting EU accession for Ukraine.

Isabell Hoffmann, Bertelsmann Foundation Europe expert and head of eupinions, explains that there is stronger support for the European Ukraine policy among those who place themselves on the political left or centre-left. However, she notes that overall, support for the Ukraine policy has declined since the war broke out, but remains at a high level.

One notable finding from the study is that support for EU accession for Ukraine is lowest in Germany, with 52 percent of German citizens against it. Hoffmann emphasizes the importance of taking these doubts into account as the European Parliament elections in June and the US elections approach.

Hoffmann states, “The upcoming elections in the USA and the EU are of paramount significance for Ukraine ­– and for the European security order. Europe faces major uncertainties in security policy if there is a change in administration in the USA. The large majority across the EU in favour of a European defence policy supports decision-takers in the EU wishing to tackle urgently needed reinforcement of their own security in a decisive way.”

The Bertelsmann Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Reinhard Mohn in 1977, is committed to promoting societal participation and development in areas such as education, democracy, digitalization, and the sustainable economy. For more information, please visit

For media inquiries, please contact Isabell Hoffmann at +49(0)30 27 57 88126 or via email at

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