While Italy’s foreign policy has moved to fully embrace a Euro-Atlantic stance after Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio split with the 5-Star Movement over sending military aid to Ukraine, Italians have been among Europe’s most ambivalent nations about Ukraine, Russia, and NATO, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. But also about our ties with the United States.
Russia’s decline in the polls. In Italy, Greece and Poland, positive views of Russia have declined by more than 30 percentage points since the survey was conducted (2020 for Italy and 2019 for Greece and Poland).
- Majorities in almost every country surveyed express little confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin, including in Italy at 86 percent.
- Over the last two decades, ratings for Putin have been on a downward trend in many countries, but in 2022
- Despite Russia’s decline in the polls, a recent poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) showed that Italian citizens — alongside French and Germans — are the least likely to support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, although most of them are still in favor.
Less confident in the U.S. and President Biden. Views of the U.S. have stayed about the same in roughly half the countries surveyed by the Pew in both 2021 and 2022, but have dropped since last year in Italy (-13 points), as well as Greece (-15 points) and France (-8 points).
- 61 percent of Italians have a favorable opinion of the U.S., against 74 percent in 2021.
- The highest favorability data was recorded in 2015 (at 83 percent) when Barack Obama was U.S. President and Matteo Renzi was Prime Minister.
- Confidence in U.S. President Joe Biden is lacking in Italy with only 45 percent showing confidence.
What about NATO? The Pew survey includes 11 NATO member states, and views of the alliance have improved in five — Germany, the U.K., Poland, the U.S. and the Netherlands —, although they have declined in two, Italy and Greece.
- While ratings of NATO are down significantly, it is from a record high of 72 percent in spring 2021 to 64 percent now.