Germany split on NATO defense spending target: survey | News | DW | 04.04.2019
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Germany split on NATO defense spending target: survey

A new survey has shown that a majority of Germans support the role of NATO, but not the alliance's defense spending target. From Brexit to European elections, DW examines the survey's findings.

A slim majority of Germans "do not support" Germany raising defense spending to reach a NATO target of 2 percent of GDP.

That's the view held by 53 percent of respondents to the latest "DeutschlandTrend" survey published by German public broadcaster ARD on Thursday. Forty-three percent backed the idea.

Defense spending rose to the forefront of German politics after US President Donald Trump threatened to moderate Washington's commitment to NATO if member states did not meet the alliance-backed target.

However, on other facets of the trans-Atlantic alliance, Germans appeared to be on board. More than 80 percent of respondents supported the idea that "NATO is important for securing peace in Europe," compared to 15 percent who did not support it.

Read more: Opinion: Don't give up on NATO just yet

Survey showing German sentiment towards NATO

Brexit regret

On Brexit, the German view of the UK's decision to leave the EU remains largely unchanged.

In February, 79 percent of respondents said they regretted Brexit, while in April only 74 percent felt that way.

In Germany, the government and industry leaders have urged increased efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit. However, the figures suggest a growing impatience over the divorce process and a desire to see it finished.

Read more: No-deal Brexit 'almost inevitable' — the view from Europe

Infographic showing German sentiment towards Brexit

Climate policy a priority

On the EU, 88 percent of respondents said the bloc needed to make  climate action its top priority.

Refugee and immigration policy came in second with 75 percent, while defense policy and economy and trade tied for third with 73 percent.

If the European Parliamentary elections were to be held on Sunday, a majority of respondents said they would vote for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Read more: Opinion: The EU is neglecting its humanitarian duty

Infographic showing German sentiment towards EU policy priorities

Merkel's conservatives still strong

When asked how they would vote if German parliamentary elections were held this Sunday, respondents appeared to vote along similar lines.

Some 29 percent of respondents said they would vote for the CDU or CSU. The Green Party came in second with 20 percent, while the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) trailed with 17 percent.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) witnessed a percentage-point drop, with 12 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the party. Meanwhile, the Left Party and business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) both polled under 10 percent.

Read more:What makes Germany tick? A star psychologist reveals the state of the nation 

Infographic showing how Germans would vote if elections were held Sunday

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