BRUSSELS, Belgium — The trans-Atlantic divide over Iraq remains wide, and Europeans are still frustrated with American foreign policy, according to a survey being released Wednesday.
President Bush continues to be deeply unpopular: 72 percent of Europeans disapprove of his foreign policies and almost 60 percent see U.S. leadership in his hands as a bad thing, according to the survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo, a nonprofit research center in Turin, Italy.
"Despite major efforts to repair relations, there is still a rift in how we view each other and the world," said Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund.
Fifty-four percent of Americans want better ties with Europe, a rise of five percentage points from last year, the survey said. But 55 percent of Europeans, also an increase of five points, want to "take a more independent approach" from Washington.
The survey was conducted in the first half of June. It polled 1,000 people each in the United States and 10 European countries: France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.
Europeans dislike Bush, not the U.S.
Keenest in Europe to see trans-Atlantic ties improve are Poles (48 percent), Spaniards (43 percent) and Slovaks (35 percent). Support for a more independent EU was highest in France (69 percent), Italy (66 percent) and the Netherlands (62 percent).
However, Europeans separate their dislike of Bush from their feelings for the United States as a country.
"While Europe's overall opinion toward the United States has not improved, there seems to be no increase in anti-Americanism," the survey said.
Europeans have moderately warm feelings toward the United States, which the survey measured on what it called a thermometer reading of 50 degrees on a scale of 1 to 100.
The British and Italians, whose governments have supported Bush on Iraq, cooled toward the United States over the last year, going from 62 to 57 degrees and from 61 to 57 degrees, respectively, the survey said.
Americans warming toward Europeans
For their part, Americans feel better about Europeans than they did in 2004, registering 60 degrees or above for Germany, Spain, Britain and Italy. They also warmed toward France, which led the opposition to the Iraq war with Germany, for a second year in a row, going from 45 degrees in 2003 to 53 degrees today.
It is Bush's foreign policy that Europeans hold in particularly low regard: 85 percent of the French disapprove, followed by Germans (83 percent), Spaniards (81 percent), Turks (77 percent) and Italians (70 percent). In Britain, Washington's staunchest ally, 62 percent of those polled had a dim view of Bush's approach.
Support for the NATO alliance — the glue of trans-Atlantic security for five decades — remains high: 56 percent in Europe and 60 percent in the United States.
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