VILNIUS – Lithuanians' trust in NATO and the European Union has increased over the past year, as has their support for the EU's further enlargement, the latest Eurobarometer survey showed on Tuesday.
Sixty-four percent of Lithuanians tend to trust the EU, five percentage points more than a year ago. In the EU on average, the level of trust remained stable at 47 percent. Lithuania and Denmark have the lowest levels of distrust in the EU at 24 percent, according to the report.
GROWING TRUST IN NATO
Trust in NATO has increased in Lithuania and in most other EU countries over the year. Seventy percent of Lithuanian citizens tend to trust in the Alliance (eight percentage points more than a year ago), compared to the EU average of 50 percent (up by five points).
The highest levels of trust in NATO are in Denmark (86 percent), the Netherlands (76 percent) and Finland (75 percent). Trust in the organization is particularly low in Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and the former East Germany, at 30 percent or less.
Finland, a NATO invitee country, also recorded the largest year-on-year change in trust in the Alliance, at 24 percentage points. Sweden, the other Nordic country invited to join NATO, registered a seven-point increase, and Latvia, Poland and France each saw trust in the organization grow by 11 points.
Estonia was the only country to record a major decline in trust in NATO over the year, at 22 points.
Trust in the United Nations grew by three points to 54 percent in Lithuania and remained unchanged at 48 percent in the EU on average.
IN FAVOR OF EU ENLARGEMENT
Seventy-three percent of Lithuanians said in the latest survey that they would support further enlargement of the EU to include other countries in the future, up from 68 percent a year ago. In the EU on average, the number increased by five points to 52 percent.
According to the report's authors, this is "the only statement for which there has been a clear increase in support over the past year".
"This increase is likely to be a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine's possible membership of the European Union is gaining public support," they said.
Only Poland has the same percentage of EU enlargement supporters as Lithuania. The survey found somewhat lower support for the bloc's enlargement, at 71 percent, in Malta, Latvia and Spain.
The lowest numbers of EU enlargement supporters are in France (33 percent), Austria (37 percent) and Germany (40 percent). However, the countries recorded increases, at five, nine and eight points respectively, compared to 2022.
Fifty-six percent of Lithuanians have a positive image of the EU (up by seven points year-on-year), higher than the bloc's average of 45 percent (up by one point). While Ireland has the highest share of citizens with a positive image of the EU, at 74 percent, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have the lowest, at 32 percent each.
Eighteen percent of Lithuanians answered positively to the question of whether their country could better face the future outside the EU, down by three points year-on-year. EU-wide, the share of respondents who thought so edged down by one point to 27 percent.
The survey shows strong support for a common EU defense and security policy both in Lithuania and in the bloc on average, at 86 percent and 77 percent, respectively.
However, the percentage of those who think so in Lithuania fell by three points year-on-year.
The share of Lithuanians in favor of a common foreign policy and a common energy policy also declined by three points to 80 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
The Eurobarometer survey was carried out in all EU countries between January and February. Some 1,003 citizens aged 15 and over were interviewed in Lithuania.