The new coronavirus pandemic has boosted Europeans’ desire for greater cooperation between European Union (EU) countries and eroded confidence in the United States, according to a European Foreign Affairs Council (ECFR) study released on Monday.
In collaboration with several newspapers, including Le Monde, La Vanguardia and The Guardian, the ECFR surveyed 11,000 people in late April and early May.
The study concludes that Europe is currently in a state of “trauma” and that Europeans feel abandoned alone and vulnerable to the new coronavirus. The study found widespread dissatisfaction with their governments and the EU’s failures.
The study also found that most Europeans no longer consider the United States a reliable partner. 60% of respondents said their perception of the US had deteriorated.
“Europeans have lost faith in the United States, in their ability and competence to rule the world,” Jeremy Shapiro, ECFR chief researcher, told the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.
48% of respondents also said that their perception of China had deteriorated during the pandemic.
“Before the crisis, the continent was increasingly divided into pro-European cosmopolitans and Eurosceptic nationalists,” said study authors Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard.
The study shows that the virus has mixed the two camps together, the study’s authors said.
Although many Europeans believe that the EU’s performance in the new coronavir crisis has not been good enough, most Europeans want more cooperation in the EU to deal with such crises.
63% of Europeans said that more cooperation between EU countries was needed, and less than half of those surveyed said that the EU’s role in the crisis had been negligible. However, in France, 58% of respondents thought so.
The authors of the study pointed out that a new type of pro-European position is emerging, which accepts that sovereignty is ensured through a common foreign policy, control of external borders and relocalization of production.
The surveys were conducted in nine EU Member States: Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.