DThe traffic light coalition can rely on a clear majority of the population when making decisions to expand Germany's defense capability. According to a study by management consultancy PwC, 68 percent of Germans support this project. However, 63 percent also think that the “turning point” announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in March 2022 has not yet reached the Bundeswehr.
The majority also considers the necessary investments to be necessary: 57 percent support the intention to invest two percent of the gross domestic product or more in defense. 31 percent of those surveyed view this critically.
“In the survey from summer 2022, we were able to determine how much the population was shocked by the Russian attack on Ukraine and how clearly there was a change of heart on defense issues. The 2024 results underline that people are still very concerned and want more efforts to strengthen security,” said one of the co-authors of the study in Germany.
Seven percent consider the USA under Trump to be reliable
A total of 58 percent consider the expansion of the troop presence on NATO's eastern flank, especially with the planned German combat brigade in Lithuania, to be “somewhat necessary”. When asked about their attitude towards the Bundeswehr, only 45.5 percent of those surveyed expressed themselves positively. In 2022, 54 percent still perceived the Bundeswehr positively. No further justification or details as to what this assessment related to were given in the report.
When it comes to the question of whether Ukraine will be able to successfully assert itself against Russia with the support of the West, Germans are skeptical: 39 percent see opportunities. 48 percent see Ukraine's long-term resilience as rather questionable.
Those surveyed were very skeptical about whether NATO and the West would continue their deterrence policy towards Russia as before if Donald Trump were re-elected as US President. Only seven percent consider the USA to be reliable in this regard, while 15.4 percent have a fairly high level of trust. A majority of 59.1 percent expect that the USA would reduce its commitment to Ukraine under a Trump presidency.
One in two people do not feel safe
In addition, according to the survey, 69.5 percent of Germans believe that the security situation in Germany has worsened because of the war in the Middle East, for example due to riots at demonstrations, anti-Semitism or Islamist attacks. Around every second German (52.1 percent) sees themselves as not being adequately protected by the security authorities. 38.3 percent tend to perceive adequate protection.
A large majority of 76.2 percent also believe that Germany is already (tend to be) overwhelmed with immigration at its current levels. 81 percent are in favor of curbing illegal migration more; 11.5 percent spoke out against it. Accordingly, 76.5 percent are in favor of stricter controls at the EU borders in order to deter illegal entries and potential terrorists. 14.2 percent of those surveyed are somewhat or clearly against more controls.
In the study, PwC is based on a representative survey of 500 men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 on January 9th and 10th. The results, which follow on from an investigation from 2022, were available to the German Press Agency on Tuesday in Berlin.