German People, Czech and Slovak Leaders Oppose Permanent NATO Bases in Poland, Baltic States
June 29, 2014 • 11:25AM

An opinion poll in Germany has found that 74% oppose NATO establishing permanent bases in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The survey by the Forsa pollsters, to be released in the June 27 issue of Internationale Politik magazine, found that just 18% of Germans asked support the idea of NATO bases in Poland and the Baltics, and that opposition to the idea was strongest in the former communist east of Germany. Germans have increasingly shown resistance to out-of-area deployments. A Forsa poll for Stern magazine released June 25 showed that 71% of respondents opposed deploying the Bundeswehr overseas, reportedly even if efforts to bring a recalcitrant party to heel, via sanctions or negotiations, fail.

Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said he would be happy if "two heavy brigades" of NATO troops would be stationed in the country following the crisis in Ukraine, although Russia has stressed that it would violate its 1997 agreement with NATO. Last month, NATO SACEUR Gen. Philip Breedlove (USAF) had said NATO would have to consider permanent stationing of troops in Eastern Europe.

Earlier this month, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he "can't imagine foreign troops being deployed on our territory in the form of some bases." Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has also said he sees no need for NATO troops to be permanently stationed in the Czech Republic. While in Poland for 25th anniversary celebrations of the end of communism, the first week of June, U.S. President Barack Obama further pushed the confrontation with Russia, by announcing that he will ask Congress for $1 billion in added defense spending to build up troops and hardware in Central Europe bordering Russia.