71% of Germans favour the nuclear ban treaty


A large majority of Germans are in favour of Germany signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that will be opened for signature on 20 September at the United Nations. A YouGov opinion poll commissioned by ICAN Germany showed that 71% of citizens in Germany think that Germany should join the treaty with 14% are against it.


“The German people wants its government to support the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Both Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Gabriel are ignoring the common sense of the people” said Sascha Hach, ICAN Germany.


Despite significant pressure from German civil society, the German government decided earlier this year to not attend the negotiations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a decision that exposed divisions within the Foreign Office. While the decision was made by former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and reiterated by his successor Sigmar Gabriel, sources have indicated that there was no consensus over the issue of participating in the negotiations in the Foreign Ministry.


In August, the Social-Democrat candidate for Chancellor and former European Parliament President Martin Schulz called for US nuclear weapons to be withdrawn from the German nuclear base at Büchel. Analysis say that this could have been a test to see how such a statement would play out during the election campaign. Withdrawing nuclear weapons from Germany could be a first step to joining the nuclear ban treaty, as the deployment and stationing of other’s nuclear weapons on your territory would be forbidden under the Treaty.


With this poll result, it is clear that the government position goes against the wishes of the German people. The results also show that it is the non-voters (the largest sub-group) who are least in favour of Germany signing the treaty (57%), while the Social Democrats (83%) and Greens (85%) are most in favour. All of the other parties showed high numbers in favour: the conservative CDU/CSU union (76%), the left-wing Die Linke party (79%), the liberal FDP party (72%), and the right-wing AfD party (77%).


“By boycotting the negotiations, Germany has refused to take part in multilateral talks on disarmament and arms control for the first time in history. This position strengthens the hand of those advocating armament and escalation as the response to tensions between USA and North Korea, as well as NATO with Russia. The German government urgently needs to change course and help to strengthen international law to stop these dangerous threats of violence from spiraling out of control” continues Hach.


ICAN Germany has set up an action page where citizens can write to the candidates in their consituency for the coming election on September 24, asking them to support the ban treaty: www.nuclearban.de


Read the YouGov poll here (in German): https://www.icanw.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/yougov-atomwaffen-bundestagswahl-pdf.pdf


Foto: Regine Ratke/IPPNW