by Alexander James Wright, Li Jizhi
BRUSSELS, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Most Europeans do not think that China is a threat to their way of life, despite the European Union (EU) labeling the Asian power as its "systemic rival," according to a survey published earlier this week.
The survey, conducted in 12 EU countries and published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), shows that, while many believe a new cold war is unfolding between the United States and China or Russia, a majority of the respondents do not think that their own countries are involved in it.
Of the 16,000 EU citizens surveyed, 59 percent said that their own country is not involved in a cold war with China, while only 15 percent thought the contrary. "In every country polled, more people deny that a new cold war is taking place between their country and China than agree it might be happening," reads the report.
Meanwhile, 46 percent do not think that their country is involved in a cold war with Russia, and only 25 percent believe so, according to the survey conducted in May and June this year.
Ivan Krastev, co-author of the report, said that "most Europeans tend to see Brussels, and not their own countries, as part of the new cold war," highlighting the seemingly growing chasm between the EU institutions and the member states' citizens.
The European Commission updated its China strategy in 2019, which simultaneously considers China a cooperation partner, a negotiation partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival.
But the latest poll finds that most Europeans have not bought into the idea, and a majority of the respondents do not see China as a threat to their way of life.
"In fact, only five percent of Europeans say they believe that China rules the world," said the ECFR report, adding that the findings may pose the biggest challenge to Washington's framing of the conflict.
The report mentioned that previous ECFR surveys had already shown that Europeans do not see the growing rivalry between Washington and Beijing as their war, although they feel much closer to the U.S. than to China.
Regarding the efforts to fight against climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest share of respondents said that "the nature of a particular political regime does not sufficiently explain governments' failure or success," showing that the borders of political regimes are "blurred".
Another challenge to "policymakers hoping for public backing in the emerging cold war" is the lack of agreement among Europeans over whether an existential threat even exists, the ECFR said.
In a survey carried out at the end of 2020, the ECFR discovered that less than one in ten citizens in Germany and France thought that their country depended strongly on the American security guarantee. "Almost one-third of people in those countries thought they did not need the guarantee much at all," the think tank said. Enditem