Europeans want peace, not sanctions, according to a survey by the pro-government Századvég Institute published on Tuesday, which found that Europeans expect leaders to try to secure a ceasefire in Ukraine and a peace agreement as swiftly as possible.
The think-tank said the “Western political elite” had concentrated more on punishing Russia than on fostering peace talks, adding that EU sanctions and foreign policy had stalled the possibility of securing peace between Ukraine and Russia.
In Hungary 62 percent of respondents to Századvég’s survey found the war “highly concerning”, while 31 percent found it unsettling, while in Germany the corresponding ratios were 51 percent and 30 percent.
The only EU member state where a majority did not find the war to be quite so worrying was Slovakia, (48 percent and 41 percent, respectively). One explanation for this is that Slovaks may be more preoccupied with domestic problems, the think-tank said.
Fully 82 percent of respondents to the Europe-wide survey were in favour of prioritising peace and forcing Russia and Ukraine to negotiate an end to the war.
Divisions are apparent along the lines of states which are pro-sanctions and anti-sanctions/pro-peace, Századvég said.
There is a preponderance of southern states whose respondents were in favour of forcing negotiations (91 percent in Cyprus, 89 percent in Portugal and Greece) than rejecting sanctions. In Hungary, the corresponding ratio is 88 percent, the think-tank said.
The think-tank said that whereas in all countries surveyed there was a majority for swift peace talks, “this proportion is lower in the pro-sanctions member states”.
Fully 42 percent of Estonians, 36 percent of Latvians, 31 percent of Poles, and 29 percent of Lithuanians do not agree with forcing peace talks.
In addition to the EU member states, the research covered the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Moldova, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with 38,000 randomly selected adults interviewed by phone between October 13 and December 7.