Support to Serbia’s EU membership 55 percent

August 28 2018 | Belgrade

Support to Serbia’s EU membership 55 percent

If there was a referendum tomorrow with the question: "Do you support the accession of Serbia to the European Union?", 55% of Serbian citizens would vote for, 21% would vote against, while 12% would not vote at and 12 % would not know how they would respond to this question - this is the result of the latest public opinion poll European Orientation of Serbian Citizens conducted by the Ministry of European Integration. A total of 1,050 respondents older than 18 participated in the survey that was designed according to the Standard Eurobarometer.

As in the previous years, citizens’ support to reforms is very high. Out of the total number of respondents, 68% of them believe that the reforms necessary for Serbia’s accession to the EU should be carried out regardless of this condition, for the benefit of the citizens and for the purpose of creating a better and more regulated Serbia.

As regards development grants provided to Serbia since 2000, 24% of the respondents recognise that the EU has been the largest donor to Serbia in the last 16 years, while 21% of the respondents believe that it is Russia, which puts it in the second place; China is in the third place with 17% and Japan in the fourth with 12%. Compared to the results from a year and a half ago, from December 2016, the number of citizens who see the EU as the largest assistance provider to Serbia has increased by 3%, while the number of those who believed it was Russia has decreased by 4%.

Official data show that from 2000 to the end of 2016, the European Commission and its Member States were the largest donors with EUR 4.31 billion in realised grants, by which it significantly contributed to Serbia’s development - individually perceived, the European Commission donated EUR 2.96 billion, Germany EUR 368.21 million, Sweden EUR 232.11 million and Italy EUR 187.72 million.

All positive associations to the European Union have a growing trend. For example, 21% of citizens relate the notion of the EU with a better life, higher standard, welfare and travel, while in June 2017, 10% of the respondents had such perception.

The largest percent of citizens - 58% - believe that the issues between Belgrade and Pristina should be addressed regardless of whether the EU demands it, i.e. more than a half of the respondents support the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Serbia to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and its readiness to reach sustainable solutions in this way.

Fight against corruption (22%), healthcare system reform (16%) and judiciary reform (12%) are recognised as the most important and as reforms that most affect their everyday life. The next on the list of important reforms are those in the field of agriculture (10%), followed by education reform (9%), human rights protection (8%) and environmental protection (5%).

For the largest number of citizens - 18% - EU membership represents a path towards a better future for youth, more opportunities for employment (16%), the possibility of freer movement within the EU borders (15%) and the possibility to regulate the situation in the country (11%).