About 75% of those polled oppose the idea of their country joining the US-led military bloc
The vast majority of Austrians are opposed to joining NATO, a survey has shown. In a survey conducted earlier this month by the Austrian Institute for Opinion Polling and Data Analysis and commissioned by the Austria Press Agency, 75% of respondents answered the question of whether they thought their country should join NATO, with a further 14% for such a scenario .
Of the 1,000 Austrians surveyed, 52% said they believe Vienna’s neutrality provides adequate protection against external threats, while 40% did not share that view. As many as 83% of those polled spoke in favor of closer coordination of security and defense policy between EU member states.
When asked if they thought Ukraine should be allowed into the EU, 46% answered that they opposed Kiev’s accession, while another 38% indicated that they would support it.
As early as 1955, after the Allied forces withdrew from Austria, the Alpine nation declared itself permanently neutral. While sharing borders with several NATO member states, Austria refrained from joining the military alliance throughout the Cold War and the years that followed.
Two other European nations that until recently claimed to be neutral – Sweden and Finland – recently announced plans to join NATO in light of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. According to several surveys, public opinion about joining the alliance has undergone a profound change in both the Nordic countries since the end of February, and the majority of Finns and Swedes are now determined to join.
At the end of April, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Stockholm and Helsinki would decide to join the alliance “will be warmly welcomed and I expect that process will go quickly.” The NATO chief ended up giving an exact time frame, but offered some degree of protection to both nations during the accession process, should Russia try to intimidate them.
Some media reported earlier this month that Finland could submit its application as soon as 12 May.
Russia has warned Finland and Sweden that they must take countermeasures if they are to become NATO members.
In a speech in mid-April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Stockholm and Helsinki that joining the military bloc would mean “de facto transfer of part of sovereignty in decisions on defense and also on foreign policy.” The Russian official also urged the two nations to consider “the consequences of such a transition to our bilateral relations and the European security architecture, which is currently in a state of crisis.”
Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and prime minister who is currently deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, went further – proposing that Moscow deploy its nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea region if Finland and Sweden join NATO.