Just over 50% of Bulgarians do not want to defend a NATO ally if it is attacked. Over 10% do not want NATO to protect them if Bulgaria is attacked.
These and other data show a sociological survey from November 2022. among the 30 member countries of the alliance plus Sweden and Finland.
The participants were asked to choose one of the degrees between 0 and 10 (greatest agreement) of agreement with the statement that Bulgaria should defend another NATO country if it is attacked.
Just under a fifth (18%) say they are in the middle – neither to protect nor not to protect an ally.
One in four (25%) is in favor of helping a NATO country, with 9% choosing the most emphatic answer of this group, “totally disagree”.
Again, the largest group of pro-union Bulgarians is the one with the categorical “I completely agree” (14%). The rest are evenly distributed in groups of 9-10 percent each.
The Bulgarians are not quite at the bottom when it comes to answering the question of whether they would like the other allies to protect Bulgaria if it were attacked. Slovakia, North Macedonia, Estonia and Montenegro are worse off.
More than two-thirds (68%) agreed to accept allied aid, 11% disagreed, and 16% said they were torn between the two. Another 5% say they don’t know the answer. This means that a third of the surveyed Bulgarians are against, wonder or don’t know if they want to be protected by the other allies. But also 25% supported “Definitely yes”.
Across the board, more than half of those surveyed believe that their country’s membership in NATO prevents an attack from another country. In Bulgaria, 57% of the respondents think so – just as much as in Germany. At the bottom is the USA with 54% conviction that because of the alliance no one will dare to attack.
More than one in five (22%) Bulgarians are convinced that there is no such effect from Atlantic membership, and 16% are hesitant.
More than half of Bulgarians would confirm the country’s membership in NATO if they were faced with the choice of voting for or against in a referendum.
Bulgarians are also asked how important they think NATO is for Bulgaria’s future security. Here, more than two-thirds (37%) responded with a “Very important” organization, another 29% with “Important”, and 9% did not consider it important at all.
Less than half (45%) of Bulgarians said they trust NATO. 31% did not trust the organization, with 11% even taking the most extreme position “I do not trust at all”.
It is no longer news that people in Bulgaria most disagree with their country helping Ukraine (the question does not specify whether it is about armaments). According to the survey, 54% are against and only Montenegro is at the same level, and Greece is close to this result with 51%.
In no other of the surveyed countries is the group that chose “Totally against” so large (30%)
Here are more of the overall findings for all countries’ results:
- Defense Expenditure: 74% favor keeping or increasing defense spending, up from 70% in 2021 and 2020.
- The transatlantic link remains extremely important in addressing security challenges (82% consider the relationship between North America and Europe important, compared to 81% in 2021).
- The collective defense receives significantly greater support from the majority throughout the Alliance. 69% agree that their country should defend another ally if attacked, compared to 64% in 2021. Only 9% disagree.
- The conviction of NATO membership – that it makes an attack by a foreign nation less likely rose significantly to 61% from 53% in 2021.
- The intention to vote has risen significantly. In a referendum, 70% of Allied citizens would vote for their nation to remain a member of NATO. Only 11% would vote against membership.
- A large majority of Allied nationals see NATO as important for future security on their side (74%), only 6% do not.
- Knowledge of the organization overall has risen significantly: 83% know NATO at least a little, compared to 74% in 2021. 52% know NATO very well or quite a bit.
- Russia is viewed unfavorably by 63% of allied citizens, compared to 46% in 2021. Fourteen percent have a favorable opinion of Russia.
- China is perceived unfavorably from 45% of allied nationals, down from 44% in 2021.
- The majority of allied citizens believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affected safety and the security of their country (64%).