Europeans See a Disconnect With the U.S. on Values, Survey Shows

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Europeans see the U.S. as an ally out of necessity rather than a partner with common interests and beliefs, according to a survey published ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to the continent.

Only one in five Europeans view the U.S. as sharing the region’s values, while about twice that amount classify the country as a “necessary partner” because of strategic considerations, according to the study published Wednesday by the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The poll, conducted across 12 European Union member states with a combined population of 300 million people, indicates that transatlantic rifts, which widened under Donald Trump, haven’t been overcome even as Biden seeks tighter cooperation with Europe.

Much of the blame could stem from views on U.S. politics. At least half of those questioned in countries including Germany, France and Spain think the American system is damaged.

The lack of confidence wasn’t reserved just for the U.S., with the opinion poll showing little faith in the EU. Majorities in countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain described the bloc as “broken.”

An accelerating vaccine rollout may help regain trust. Most respondents in all the countries polled, except for Germany and France, said the pandemic revealed a need for greater collaboration between member states.

On his first overseas trip since taking office, Biden will take part in the Group of Seven meeting in Cornwall, England on June 11-13, followed by a NATO gathering and a European Union-U.S. summit in Brussels. According to Biden’s aides, he plans to focus on “three C’s” -- Covid-19, China and climate.

There’s a disconnect here too. While Europeans are still wary of China -- especially in countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands -- they mostly see Turkey as the biggest threat.

The survey, conducted by YouGov and Datapraxis, was carried out in March and April.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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