BERLIN, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The attitude of Germans towards their country's traditionally close ties with the United States has deteriorated significantly, survey findings published on Tuesday by the Hamburg-based Koerber Foundation show.
Citing representative surveys conducted by the Kantar Public Institute and Pew Research Center for its annual "The Berlin Pulse" report on foreign policy attitudes, the foundation highlighted that transatlantic relations appeared to be "freezing over" in 2018.
In the course of just one year, the share of respondents who indicated that Germany should cooperate less with the United States rose from 34 percent to 47 percent, while nearly three quarters rated the state of the transatlantic relations as either very bad or somewhat bad (73 percent) and urged Berlin to shape its foreign policy more independent of Washington (72 percent).
Commenting on the survey results, Nora Mueller, executive director of international affairs at the Koerber Foundation, said that Germans were "clearly becoming ever more estranged from their most important partner outside of Europe."
Notably, relations with the United States under President Donald Trump were identified in the report as the greatest external challenge facing Germany by 28 percent of respondents, an apparent increase compared with the 19 percent in 2017. As such, it was ranked just behind the issue of refugees and migration policy.
Since his election, President Trump has repeatedly criticized Germany's high and long-standing trade surpluses with the rest of the world and urged Berlin to commit more funding to its own defense. At least with regards to the latter point, Germans increasingly appear to share Trump's view. The share of respondents calling for higher defense spending rose from 32 percent to 43 percent between 2017 and 2018.
While there's a growing desire among respondents for a distanced relationship with the U.S., the report also found a large majority of Germans are keen to sever their currently close ties with the United Kingdom after Brexit. Only 31 percent said that Britain should remain a privileged and special partner to the European Union after it departs the bloc, compared to 65 percent who did not want it to be treated any differently from other non-EU third countries.