Transatlantic Trends 2014
Over the past year, policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have been confronted with increasingly grave foreign policy challenges, even as the global economic crisis appeared to retreat somewhat: bloody wars and civil strife in the Middle East and a worsening conflict in Ukraine — all before a backdrop of partisan political divisions and domestic concerns that limit citizens’ appetite for international engagement. Under the circumstances, politicians and publics alike face difficult questions about burden-sharing in the context of transatlantic cooperation, the future of NATO and the European project, negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, the impact of mobility and migration on foreign and security policy, and the West’s relations with Russia.
Transatlantic Trends 2014 paints a picture of a complex relationship between the United States and Europe, and their responses to these challenges.
This year’s survey uncovered some significant findings. Seven stand out particularly:
- Americans and Europeans disagreed on the future of the transatlantic relationship, with a majority of Europeans (especially in Germany) preferring a more independent approach.
- A majority of Americans disapproved of President Barack Obama’s international policies for the first time.
- A north-south divide continued to trouble Europe, and three-in-four Europeans said the EU was not doing enough to combat the economic crisis.
- Majorities in Europe wanted to accommodate the United Kingdom’s concerns rather than see it leave the EU — with the exception of France.
- Transatlantic majorities wanted to continue economic and political support for Ukraine, even if that meant a risk of continued conflict with Russia; a majority of Americans polled were willing to give NATO membership to Ukraine, while a majority of Europeans were willing to offer it EU membership. Two-thirds were willing to support stronger sanctions against Russia.
- A majority of Russians polled said their country should act to maintain its influence over Ukraine, even if there was a risk of conflict with the EU.
- A plurality of Americans felt that illegal immigrants should be given the opportunity to legalize their status — with an overwhelming majority in that group saying this should include a path to citizenship.