Ministry: 55% of Serbia’s citizens support EU membership

NEWS 28.08.2018 10:54
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If a referendum was held now, 55 percent of Serbia’s nationals would say yes to the country’s European Union membership, a Ministry for European Integration’s survey published on Tuesday said, the Beta news agency reported.

The survey following the Euro-barometer standards covered 1,050 respondents older than 18 years of age, showed that all positive perceptions of the EU were on the rise.

It showed that 18 percent of the polled saw the EU membership as a road to a better future for the young people, 16 percent believed it would provide better chance for employment, 15 percent pointed out the freedom of movement within the EU, and 11 percent said it would enable the improvement of the general situation in the country.

The percentage of those who linked the EU to a better life, higher living standard, wealth and travels doubled to 21 percent compared to June 2017 when only 10 percent saw those benefits from the bloc’s membership.

In the latest poll, 21 percent of the respondents were against joining the EU, while 12 percent would not vote or did not know an answer.

The Ministry’s statement added that the people’s support for the reforms needed for the European integration was equally high as it had been in recent years. The implementation of such changes had the support of 68 percent of the population covered by the survey because of the citizens’ benefits and creation of a better and more improved state, regardless of potential membership.

However, the survey showed that only 24 percent of those polled recognised the EU as the largest donor of non-refundable financial aid to Serbia in the last 16 years. The runner-up according to 21 percent respondents was Russia, third place went to China with 17 percent, while Japan came forth according to 12 percent of the polled.

This result is far from the reality since, in the 2000-2016 period, the European Commission was the far largest donor with 4.31 billion Euros, followed by individual countries such as Germany with 368.21 million, Sweden with 232.11 million and Italy with 187.72 million Euros.

But the perception of the most significant donors slightly changed in comparison to a survey in 2016, showing that the percentage of those realising the EU as the largest contributor rose by three percent, while the belief it was Russia dropped by four percent, the Ministry’s statement said.

Concerning the Kosovo issue, 58 percent of the respondents said that Belgrade and Pristina should solve it regardless of the EU demands, and over half of the respondents support the Government’s efforts to continue the EU-facilitated Belgrade – Pristina dialogue for normalisation of relations.

The fight against corruption, the health service and judiciary reforms were seen as the most significant issues influencing the everyday life by 22, 16 and 12 percent of the respondents respectively.

They were followed by the importance of the agriculture, education, better protection of human right and the environment with ten, nine, eight and five percent of those covered by the survey respectively.