Published on Thursday, September 9, 2004 by Agence France Presse
US Superpower Viewed Increasingly Badly in Europe
WASHINGTON - The power exerted by the United States in the world is viewed increasingly negatively in Europe, according to a study of transatlantic relations published by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo of Italy.
The survey showed that 58 percent of Europeans who live in Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey, desire a more independent approach for Europe on international security and diplomatic issues.
The 2004 survey also showed that 76 percent of Europeans express disapproval of current US foreign policy, an increase of 20 percentage points over the past two years.
"If this trend continues, we may be looking at a redefinition of the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship from a first choice partnership to an optional alliance when mutually convenient," said Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund.
"However, a strong transatlantic foundation, based on common values and social and economic linkages, continues to drive the relationship," he added.
The French and Spaniards show the most hostility toward the United States and its leadership role in the world, with 73 and 76 percent of them respectively saying they are viewing America negatively or very negatively.
By contrast, the Dutch and the British are the most enthusiastic, with 59 and 54 percent of them saying respectively that they have a favorable or very favorable view of the United States.
But despite the stress on the relationship, both Europeans and Americans believe they share enough common values to cooperate with each other on international problems, according to the survey.
"And contrary to expectations in the aftermath of the war in Iraq Europeans' warmth of feeling toward the US has not diminished over last year," the survey said.
Fifty-two percent of Europeans insist they have a favorable opinion of the United States. In Britain, that number reaches 62 percent, in Italy 61 percent, while in Spain and Turkey only 42 percent and 28 percent respectively agree with that point of view.
The survey also showed Americans and Europeans agree on the big threats facing their societies, such as terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but they sharply differ on how to respond.
While 79 percent of Americans support strong European Union leadership in world affairs, 58 of Europeans - nine percentage points more than last year - find strong US leadership undesirable.
Seventy-six percent of Europeans say they disapprove of US President George W. Bush's international policies, while 51 percent of Americans say they approve.
Americans and Europeans also disagree on whether a war can be just - 41 percenmt of Europeans answered that war may be used to achieve justice compared to 82 percent of Americans, according to the poll.
Fifty-four percent of Americans believe the best way to ensure peace is through military strength, while only 28 percent of Europeans agree with the statement. Americans and Europeans both agree an international mandate is essential for Iraq-type operations in the future.
A majority of Europeans -- 80 percent -- do not believe the war in Iraq was worth the loss of life and other costs, while Americans remain divided on this issue along ideological lines, the poll showed.
Seventy-three percent of Europeans believe the Iraq war increased the risk of terrorism, as do 49 percent of Americans.
The survey had a sampling margin or error of plus or minus three percentage points.
© 2004 Agence France Presse