Support for EU membership continues to decline

Serbian citizens’ support for the country’s EU accession has dropped to 51 percent, shows a poll conducted by the Serbian government’s EU Integration Office.

Source: Beta
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53 percent of the Serbian citizens supported the country’s EU integration in the Office’s June poll.

Serbian government’s EU Integration Office Director Milica Delević told a press conference that the EU support was declining in Serbia but that the citizens rationally assessed the state interests after the initial negative reaction to the events in Serbia’s EU integration process.

“The poll shows a rational and emotional ratio in citizens. It depicts the way the EU is being discussed in a public debate and shows a sour grapes tendency. If we did not get something, then it was not important in the first place,” she explained.

Delević said that the poll was conducted on December 22, after the European Council had made a decision not to grant the EU candidate status to Serbia.

If a referendum with a question “Do you support Serbia’s EU accession?” was held tomorrow, 51 percent of the citizens would vote “yes”, 28 percent would vote “no”, 18 percent would not vote at all and three percent of the citizens do not know what their answer would be.

Delević stressed that 23 percent of the citizens believed that the EU would bring nothing good to Serbia and that the state would benefit more from the EU than citizens themselves.

53 percent of the citizens believe that the state officials are responsible for the fact that Serbia did not get the EU candidate status, while 32 percent think that the situation in the EU was to blame for this and only five percent believe that Kosovo was the problem.

“However, when asked what the biggest condition set before Serbia was, 70 percent of the citizens pointed out that it was Kosovo,” the Serbian government’s EU Integration Office director explained.

However, 75 percent of the citizens believe that the problems between Belgrade and Priština should be solved regardless of the EU. 85 percent of the citizens still support reforms and believe that they should be continued even though they are not a condition for the EU accession.

The percentage of the citizens who support the country’s EU has dropped by two percent when compared to the last poll, when 53 percent of the citizens supported the idea.

The number of those who would vote against the EU accession in a referendum has increased from 24 to 28 percent.

The support dropped by six percent in a year, bearing in mind that 57 percent of the citizens said they supported the country’s EU accession in December 2010.

The current support to the EU accession is the lowest since 2002 when the EU Integration Office started conducting polls.

The citizens’ support was usually over 60 percent and the highest percentage was in December 2003 – 73 percent. The support has been declining since December 2010.

The EU support polls are conducted two times a year, in June and December.

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Politics Tuesday, January 31, 2012 19:00 Comments: 7
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