Romanians are less confident in their public institutions than they were last year
A national-scale representative poll conducted over the telephone between September 29 and October 10, 2022, and involving some 1,000 citizens aged between 18 and 65, Romania's Security Barometer reflects the current trust that people have in the national and international institutional environment.
The hierarchy has not changed much, but even the national institutions that regularly enjoyed high levels of public confidence, such as the Church and the Army, are now seeing their image tainted by recent difficulties.
According to the Lab for Information War Analysis and Strategic Communication (LARICS), in a partnership with the Romanian Academy's Institute for Political Sciences and International Relations, the year 2022 has been marked by the war in the region and the quite significant energy price surges. This set of crises has eroded even the public's confidence in NATO and the EU.
Even so, Romania remains a mostly pro-Western and pro-European nation: 68% of Romanians are optimistic with respect to the EU's short-term future, 78% of them are optimistic as regards the US support for Eastern Europe, and only 10% of them believe the EU ought to disappear in the future.
In spite of serious criticism against the Union, 74% of Romanians argue that it is better to be an EU member state than to be outside it. Romanians' criticism with respect to the EU has to do with the current economic and energy-related situation: some member states are perceived to take economic advantage of Romania, the EU policies are not always seen as matching Romania's interests, and the bloc is sometimes believed to impose too many rules.
But an equally disapproving attitude is reported as far as national and local authorities are concerned. Some 48% of the public blames the skyrocketing energy prices on Romania's leaders, 28% on EU policies and only 24% on the war in Ukraine.
Should Romania come under attack, 36% of citizens say they would take part in the defence efforts, 33% are undecided and 29% would try to leave the country together with their families.
Most Romanians believe Russia is to blame for the war in Ukraine and that the main obstacle to peace is Russia. Although Moscow's responsibility is clear for most Romanians, 70% of them want the war stopped, and only 28% believe it should continue until Russia has been defeated. The reasons include fears that the conflict may spill over and that the economic crisis may deepen.
According to Romania's Security Barometer, although a strategic shift in Romanians' orientation is out of the question, a growing number of citizens argue that the country should be more pragmatic and focus on its own interests. Still, this should be done within the Euro-Atlantic framework, rather than outside it. (AMP)