Public opinion poll shows Lithuanians consider Poland as key partner
The Market and Opinion Research Centre ‘Vilmorus Ltd.’ conducted a public opinion poll on foreign policy commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, which shows that Lithuanians consider foreign policy and diplomacy as important factors to ensure security of the country and its inhabitants. In addition, the residents of Lithuania basically approve the foreign policy of the authorities and advocate closer cooperation with other Baltic states and Poland, while they feel that Russia and Belarus are the greatest threats.
According to the poll, 73% of Lithuanians believe that foreign policy and diplomacy can significantly contribute to ensuring security of the country and its inhabitants, and more than half (51%) of all respondents approve of the foreign policy of the President of Lithuania, the Seimas, and the Government. Support for Lithuania’s foreign policy is also noticeably higher among those with a higher education, the younger population and people who are interested in international politics. More hostile attitudes are expressed by members of the Russian and Polish ethnic groups, the population of small towns and respondents who agree with the statement that life was better in the Soviet Union. The poll shows that almost every third (30%) resident of Lithuania agrees with this opinion.
Almost three out of four (73%) residents of Lithuania believe that Lithuanians living abroad contribute to the promotion of Lithuania and to the enhancement of Lithuania’s attractiveness abroad, help Lithuania to attract investments, implement various projects to boost Lithuania’s prosperity, fund charity and support initiatives, support their relatives and loved ones in Lithuania, foster or help maintain the Lithuanian national identity abroad.
More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents say that the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant under construction in Belarus poses a threat to Vilnius and Lithuania.
Lithuanians think that their country should most intensively cooperate with its neighbours - Poland (62%), Latvia (58%) and Estonia (52%). The absolute majority of respondents (65%) perceive Russia as the most unfriendly and dangerous country to Lithuania. Another neighbour of ours - Belarus (18%) - came second on this list. It is noteworthy that in the last year, the percentage of people who think that Lithuania should actively cooperate with Russia has fallen 10 points from 42% of the population to 32%, while the percentage of people who think that Lithuania should actively cooperate with Belarus has decreased from 44% of the population to 35%, according to the poll.
The vast majority (88%) of respondents learned about Lithuania’s foreign policy through television, followed by online media (44%) and radio (38%). The poll showed similar results one year ago. During this period, the importance of the role of social networks that are particularly popular among young people as news source rose noticeably from 12% to 17%.
The poll also shows that Russian television channels continue to suffer a drop in popularity. Only 16% of respondents said they watched the most popular of them – the First Baltic Channel, while 32% of respondents said they watched this channel in 2015. It is about one third less than in 2016.
The poll also reveals somewhat diminished interest in international affairs. 34% of respondents said that they were interested or very interested in foreign policy, while 42% of respondents said that in 2016. More than half (55%) of those who take interest in foreign policy believe that diplomatic means ensure the protection of Lithuania’s interests. 57% of respondents who have benefited from the services provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Lithuanian diplomatic missions say that their quality is good or very good.
The opinion poll is commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania every year in December.