The Impact Of Russia's 2022 Invasion Of Ukraine On Public Perceptions Of EU Security And Defence Integration: A Big Data Analysis

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through Europe and led to rapid policy changes concomitant with variations in citizen perceptions. This article analyses how EU public opinion on security and defence matters has reacted to the war: what patterns of change and continuity can be detected, what differences are visible between Member States, and how might those be explained? Our analysis draws on big data-based sentiment analysis of news sources, reflecting a widely recognized connection between media coverage and public opinion – especially during crisis times – and complementing more traditional measurements of citizen perceptions such as opinion polls. Broadly speaking, we find that the invasion has heightened rather than fundamentally altered underlying trends. Our article contributes to a growing literature on the acceptability of European integration in security and defence, showing that publics are generally supportive of it, and regard it as complementary to NATO.

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