TDespite the strongest wave of infections to date from the coronavirus pandemic and a looming war in Ukraine, a new concern for Germans has come to the fore this month: the specter of inflation. At least that is the result of the “Security Report”, a representative survey by the Center for Strategy and Higher Leadership and the Institute for Public Opinion Allensbach, which was published on Tuesday morning and is available to the FAZ. Of the 1,090 Germans aged 16 and over who were surveyed between January 6 and 20, 70 percent said they were worried about the sharp rise in prices. In December, the inflation rate was 5.3 percent, the highest level in 30 years. This January, too, the currency devaluation eased only slightly, according to an estimate by the Federal Statistical Office on Monday it was 4.9 percent. Energy prices in particular have risen sharply.
All in all, the vast majority have come through the Corona crisis remarkably well financially, according to Renate Köcher from the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion. “But the high rate of inflation is increasingly alarming the population and is having an above-average impact on the weaker social classes.” According to the survey, every second person feels personally threatened by the consequences of inflation. A year ago, not even every third person said so.
Concerns about the corona virus are still very present for Germans, but have apparently changed. The proportion of people who believe that the pandemic cannot be controlled with current policies has increased significantly – from 50 to 60 percent compared to the previous year. At the same time, fewer people fear becoming victims of the virus themselves. In 2021, 43 percent still felt threatened by the pandemic, now it is only 31 percent. The majority of those surveyed see themselves more as part of the “Security Team” than the “Freedom Team”. However, the proportions are shifting here too. Two-thirds still prefer priority for protection, compared to more than three-quarters last year.
The proportion of Germans who see themselves personally threatened by military conflicts has doubled compared to the previous year and is now 21 percent. Last year, ten percent of those surveyed expressed such a concern – fewer than ever since the first Security Report survey in 2011. Skepticism about Russia and China in particular has increased sharply. The proportion of respondents who see Russia as a major threat to peace has jumped from 32 percent to 66 percent in the past 12 months, and in the case of China it is now 60 percent from 46 percent last year.
The greater concern about international conflicts goes hand in hand with strong support for both NATO and the German armed forces. 79 percent of those surveyed consider the Bundeswehr to be indispensable, and 72 percent consider membership in the alliance important. However, the price that Germans are willing to pay for this is falling sharply – as is also the case in comparable surveys. Only 44 percent of those surveyed agreed that the Bundeswehr would rush to help other NATO members in the event of an attack. In the event of a Russian attack on the Baltic States, it will be even less. Only 39 percent of West Germans and 20 percent of East Germans support the use of German troops.
Other assignments abroad are also not popular. Almost half of those surveyed would prefer Germany to withdraw the Bundeswehr from all missions. Support for activities in Mali is particularly low. Only 16 percent approve of what is now the largest operation in the missions of the United Nations and the European Union in the African state, the continuation of which is on the brink in view of the commitment of the Russian mercenary group Wagner and the increasingly destructive attitude of the military regime.