Published on July 6th, 2018 | by Susi Snyder


Vast majority of Europeans reject US nuclear weapon on own soil

A new poll commissioned by ICAN and Europeaan partners (including PAX) found that people in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands overwhelmingly want their governments to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

The poll was conducted in the four EU countries that host US nuclear weapons: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Italy. In each country, an overwhelming majority of people surveyed were in favour of removing the weapons from their soil, and for their countries to sign the Treaty that bans them outright.
The survey found that in each country:
  1. At least twice as many people are in favour of removing the weapons than keeping them.
  2. At least four times as many people are in favour of their country signing the TPNW than not signing the TPNW.
  3. At least four times as many people are against companies in their country investing in nuclear weapons activities than in favour of it.
  4. A strong majority of people are against NATO buying new fighter jets that are able to carry both nuclear weapons and conventional weapons.

“In their totality, the survey results show a clear rejection of nuclear weapons by those Europeans who are on the frontline of any nuclear attack: those hosting American weapons on their soil. More than simply demonstrating a ‘not in my back yard’ mentality, Europeans are even more strongly in favour of a blanket ban of all nuclear weapons worldwide than they are against simply removing the weapons from their own soil,” said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN.

Public opinion in all four host nations is strongly in favor of their country signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Support for signing the TPNW is most
outspoken in Germany and Italy. In Germany 71 % want the government to sign the TPNW and in Italy 72 % of the population is in favor of the TPNW. In Belgium 66 % of the population wants the government to sign. In the Netherlands, 66 % of respondents are in favor of signing the TPNW.

Across all those surveyed, people were highly interested in supporting divestment from nuclear weapons producers- with significant majorities in all four countries. In Belgium 68 % of
the population does not want financial institutions to invest in nuclear weapons, while in the Netherlands, 71 % of public opinion is against the idea that financial institutions invest in nuclear weapons. In Germany and Italy respectively 72 and 78 % of respondents think it is not okay to invest in nuclear weapons.

The full survey was conducted between 18 – 20 June, 2018.  The full survey and methodology can be found here.

About the Author

Susi is the project lead for the PAX No Nukes project, she also coordinates the Don’t Bank on the Bomb research and campaign. She is an expert on nuclear weapons, with over two decades experience working at the intersect between nuclear weapons and human rights. In addition to the annual Don't Bank on the Bomb reports, Susi has published numerous reports and articles, including Banned but Allied: Next steps for NATO Alliance members after the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2018); Escalating tensions: The perfect time to negotiate the outlaw and elimination of nuclear weapons(2015); Dealing with a ban (2015); The Rotterdam Blast: The immediate humanitarian consequences of a 12 kiloton nuclear explosion (2014); ‘Disarm, dismantle and make a profit: A cost-benefit analysis of nuclear modernisation versus nuclear disarmament’ (2013), and Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (2011). She represents PAX on the International Steering Group of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Susi is a 2016 Nuclear Free Future Award Laureate. Previously, Mrs. Snyder served as the Secretary General of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at their Geneva secretariat, and she is still President of the WILPF United Nations Office. She was named Hero of Las Vegas in 2001 for her work with Indigenous populations against US nuclear weapons development and nuclear waste dumping. Susi currently lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands with her husband and son.

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