Serbians are becoming less supportive of joining the EU
Serbians are becoming less supportive of joining the EU

Belgrade: Before the European Union announced its "offer" for the province of Kosovo, a recent official poll in Serbia revealed a sharp drop in support for membership.

Belgrade's government chose to emphasize how the public appeared to support the changes "related to possible membership" instead.

In its report on the survey released late Thursday, the Ministry for European Integration (MEI) stressed that "citizens' support for European reforms remains at a high level." The MEI found that 65% of respondents thought the reforms Brussels was demanding were beneficial in themselves.

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When asked how they would vote in a hypothetical referendum on EU membership, only 43% said they would vote yes, 32% said no, 13% said they would vote no, and 12% said they would vote yes. % said they didn't know anything.

When asked what the EU means to them, 13% said "a better future for young people," 14% said "more job opportunities," and 15% said "freedom to travel". ability." 13% of respondents thought the bloc risked losing its cultural identity.

The poll was taken in mid-December 2022. According to a Bloomberg report, 54% of respondents to the same survey supported joining the EU in 2021, indicating a decline of 11 percentage points since then.

Using the same methodology, an independent poll conducted in October found that only 34.7% of respondents supported the EU, while 48.8% opposed and 16.5% were unsure. Furthermore, nearly 80% of respondents opposed making acceptance into the bloc a condition for Kosovo's independence.

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When asked about the score difference at the time, pollster Djordje Vukadinovic said, "We have never had such a drop and this ratio since we started polling."

According to a government survey, 41% of Serbs said they would sort their recycling or conserve energy and water. Serbian citizens also "expressed their willingness to change their current lifestyle habits if it is aimed at joining the European Union."

Two-thirds of those surveyed said yes when asked whether the reforms sought by the EU should nevertheless be implemented, "for the benefit of citizens and with the aim of creating a better and more regulated Serbia."

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Both polls were taken before the so-called Franco-German proposal for Kosovo was leaked to the media. The EU is pressing Belgrade to de facto recognize Kosovo or risk losing visa-free travel and investment opportunities, which President Aleksandar Vucic claimed would amount to sanctions.

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