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The French say yes to the idea of ​​a European army, but doubt that it will succeed

(B2) According to un survey conducted by Odxoxa for the think-tank IRIS (Institute for International and Strategic Relations) and the daily Le Parisien, a majority of French people are in favor of the European army

A European army without thinking it's feasible

The French are in favor (75%) of setting up a common security and defense policy (1), and they also approve of a common army for EU Member States (62%). But they very strongly doubt that such an army could see the light of day in the future: 60% think that it will not happen in the next 10 or 15 years!

A certain stability of public opinion

This opinion is not really a surprise. In a Eurobarometer survey, carried out for the European Commission and published in April 2017, there were quite similar proposals. Three quarters of French people insisted on the establishment of a common European security and defense policy (77%, and 17% against). While 65% were in favor of the creation of a European army (30% Against).

Stronger support in 'government' parties 

Support for the CSDP is very majority among sympathizers of LREM (92%) and the PS (86%) as well as LR (81%). The extremes are slightly less sensitive: 68% for La France Insoumise and Rassemblement National. Support for the European army is more common among PS sympathizers (78%) followed by the Republicans (75%) and 'En Marche' (73%). Without being enthusiastic, the 'Rebellious' are not really against it (60% For). The Rassemblement National is more against it (48%).


Increase the military budget

While waiting for this common army, the French (57%) think that France's military spending should be increased. But if this opinion is the majority, it is still very “divided”. The more one is to the right, the more one is in favor of this increase in military spending: one goes from support for 2/3 (66%) among sympathizers of the National Rally to 46% among those of 'rebellious France'.

Main threat: Russia

In terms of threats, Russia is well ahead of the countries that scare the French the most: 35% of our fellow citizens perceive this country as the greatest threat to European security, just ahead of Syria (29%). or North Korea (28%)! From there to see a “ consensus to station the armies on the eastern border as the director of Odoxha says, there is a step we cannot take. That wasn't really the question asked. And it is rather daring, even false, as an interpretation. Iran (12%), Libya (6%) or Mali (2%) are perceived as weaker in terms of threats.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) A policy theoretically in place since the Treaty of Lisbon

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).