More than half of Serbia's citizens support EU membership

24. January 2018. | Belgrade

More than half of Serbia's citizens support EU membership

 

If a referendum were to be held tomorrow with the question “Do you support Serbia's membership in the EU?”, 52% of Serbian citizens would vote in favour, 24% would vote against, while 12 % would not vote at all or would not know what to answer, show the results of the public opinion poll entitled European Orientation of Serbian Citizens, which was conducted in late December by the Ministry of European Integration. The poll, which involved 1,050 respondents over the age of 18, was carried out according to Eurobarometer standard.

As in the previous years, citizens' support for the reforms is very high. Out of the total number of respondents, 65% are of the opinion that the reforms necessary for our country’s EU accession should be implemented regardless of the accession itself, for the citizens’ well-being and for creating a better and more regulated Serbia.

As regards the development grants Serbia has received since 2000 to date, 24% of respondents recognise that the EU has been the largest donor to our country in the past 16 years; according to the perception of citizens, Russia ranks second, China is the third, while Japan is in the fourth place. Compared to the results of the poll conducted a year ago i.e. in December 2016, the number of those who perceive the EU as the largest provider of assistance to Serbia has increased by 3%, while the number of those who thought that it was Russia has dropped by 1%.

Official data shows that, in the period from 2000 until the end of 2016, the European Union and its Member States were the largest donors with EUR 4.31 billion of realised grants, by which they significantly contributed to the development of Serbia − individually, the European Commission donated EUR 2.96 billion, Germany EUR 357.51 million, Sweden EUR 232.41 million and Italy EUR 191.49 million.

All positive associations to the European Union are showing a growing trend. For example, 18% of citizens associate the notion of the EU with a better life, higher standard, well-being, travel, while the previous poll showed that only 10% of the respondents had such an opinion.

The highest percentage of citizens i.e. 56% of them, believe that the issues between Belgrade and Pristina should be resolved regardless of whether required by the EU, which means that more than a half of respondents supports the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Serbia to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and its readiness to thus reach sustainable solutions.

Reform of public health system (15%), fight against corruption (15%), judiciary reform (14%) and education reform (10%) are considered by the citizens to be the most important and to have the greatest influence on their everyday life. After these, the next on the list of important reforms are those in the fields of consumer protection and agriculture (9%), followed by environmental protection (5%) and better protection of human rights (5%).

For the majority of the citizens i.e. 19%, EU membership means more opportunities for employment, a road to a better future for youth (15%), a possibility of freer movement within EU borders (15%), and an opportunity to regulate the situation in our country (13%).

Opinion poll for December 2017 can be downloaded here.