A lot of public discussions focus nowadays on the effect of the pandemic and its many challenges on the levels of trust in the West, especially during this complex period from a geopolitical point of view. CPD analyses focus on our society’s resilience to disinformation, on the factors that increase democratic resilience and can be stimulated in order to safeguard democracy and fight against disinformation in Romania.

These factors are participation, and trust in the Western model and the geopolitical actors (countries and institutions) that represent it.

Through our surveys, we looked at the evolution of trust in various countries and organizations among the Romanian public.

During the initial phase of the pandemic, a sharp decrease in trust in the US, NATO, and the EU took place. The year 2020 was a challenging year for the US and its perception abroad, especially in countries like Romania – due to the pandemic, protests, elections, etc. Towards the end of the first year (2020), the levels of trust in the West recovered. But the following year (2021) brought new challenges. For the US, there were episodes like the Capitol riots or Afghanistan – with a lot of negative media coverage in Eastern Europe. For the EU, there were also some unfavorable moments, especially related to the vaccination process. This was undoubtedly a period of intense pressure for the image of the Western model in countries like Romania.

We have also aggregated results from a series of surveys, from the period 2012-2021, built on similar samples and questionnaires (national samples of around 1000 subjects, CATI survey, the margin of error of +/- 3%, with similar variables included).

The data shows that, at the end of 2021, before the crisis at the Ukraine border started, the levels of trust in the West were on a negative trend, as a result of two years of increased negative media coverage related to Western countries or institutions.