1 in 2 Flemings supports boycott of Russian oil and gas, even if this impacts on energy prices

VRT NWS and De Standaard have revealed the results of "De Stemming", a poll among 2,000 Flemings to discover what people are worried about. Almost 50 percent of the Flemish citizens gives the boycott of Russian energy thumbs up, even though energy prices, the economy and international security are causing the most headaches.   

The poll was carried out by the universities of Brussels (VUB) and Antwerp (UA) between 14 and 31 March, when the Russian invasion in the Ukraine was still in a first phase. The online poll involved 2,064 Flemings. This report, about the war in Ukraine, is the first of four: voting intentions, the climate and migration are to follow.   

A large majority of Flemings supports measures to help the Ukraine: 70 percent is supporting food and fuel supplies (but only 50 percent supports arms deliveries). 68 percent is giving the reception of Ukrainian refugees thumbs up. This is in stark contrast with refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, who only get 30 percent support. 

However, Flemings also back measures that may harm their own interest, like a boycott of Russian gas and oil. 48 percent thinks we should impose a ban on Russian energy, even if this has consequences for our own energy supplies and for energy prices. As much as 76 percent sees a major task for the EU in this respect, and wants Europe to become less dependent on Russian imports. 

What's on people's minds?

The war in Ukraine has a major impact on what is dominating our thoughts. While health care was the main topic or greatest concern one year ago (with a score of 40 percent), this place has been taken by energy with a score of 24 percent. This does not come as a surprise as price hikes are causing Flemings headaches (even before the Russian invasion). 

21 percent has major concerns about our economy, while 13 percent is worried about international security. Health care has fallen to 11 percent. One year ago, it seemed as if the impact of the corona crisis would never stop, while things have improved a lot since then. The weakening of the pandemic and the start of a war close to the EU's borders has clearly shuffled our priority list. 

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