Brussels, March 16, 2011
by Kurt G. Engelen

On Tuesday, March 15th, the German Marshall Fund presented the findings of the Leaders survey on Transatlantic trends 2010.

 Click here  to access the online version of the survey.

Pierangelo Isernia, Professor at the University of Siena and member of the Transatlantic Trends Advisory Board presented the results of this new survey.

During his analysis, he highlighted the very positive view that leaders on both sides of the ocean had on Transatlantic relations. 

The main differences in opinion between "leaders" and the general public are that leaders are more likely to :

- Have a positive feeling towards the US
- To say that relationships are good
- To favor strong US Leadership
- To say that EU and US have common values
- To approve of Obama's policies.

The main difference between the US and EU relate to the use of military force as a solution to deal with a crisis. This difference can be found both in Leaders and in the general public.

Another element that was highlighted during the presentation was the lack of support for the EURO currency in the EU general public, whereas EU leaders are widely in favour.

Turkish EU-membership continues to fuel differences in perceptions between the EU and the US, with a strong opposition from the EU general public, whereas EU leaders are rather in favour.

the presentation was then commented by Ms. Ana Gomes MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament and Mr.Christian Leffler, Managing Director for the Americas, External Action Service

Ms Ana Gomes analyzed the reasons that lead to EU general public's opposition to Turkish EU membership explaining that  EU's predominantly right-winged governments had a tendency to consider Euope as a "kind of Christian club". Mr. Christian Leffler in return focused more on the reasons for the difference in attitude between the US and EU when it comes to the use of military force as a means to tackle crisis situations.

To the question I asked the panel as to the difference in perception between Turkish authorities and the Turkish public opinion regarding Turkish EU membership (slide 34) , both Prof. Pierangelo Isernia Ms. Ana Gomes agreed that the difference would probably be as significant as in EU.

Finally, the audience raised many questions regarding the method used to carry out the survey and the difference in sampling leaders in the US and in EU. These remarks were taken into account and will serve to improve the way of working for upcoming surveys.