56% of Serbians support country’s accession to EU

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If a referendum on accession to the EU were to be held in Serbia today, 56% of Serbians would vote for and 26% against, which is a significantly improved sentiment compared to July, shows the latest opinion poll whose findings were published on Wednesday.

The Serbian citizens’ attitude to the EU is stable, 44% have a generally positive opinion of the EU while 28% have a negative one, said Sladjana Brakus of TNS Medium Galup which conducted the poll from 1 to 7 December. The survey covered 1,247 respondents.

“The most frequent reasons for supporting the country’s EU membership are a better future, prosperity, better job opportunities and higher living standards. Opponents of Serbia’s EU membership cite an increase in poverty and unemployment, the loss of the national identity and sovereignty, and the exploitation of natural resources,” said Brakus.

A survey conducted by the Serbian government’s Office for European Integration in July this year showed that 49% of Serbians were in favour of the country’s accession to the EU and that 28% were against.

Younger and more educated Serbians have a more positive attitude to the EU, as do voters of democratically-oriented parties, including parties of the ruling coalition led by the Serbian Progressive Party and its main coalition partner, the Socialist Party of Serbia.

The TNS Medium Galup survey shows that 46% of citizens believe that the recognition of Kosovo’s independence is the key condition for Serbia’s EU membership. In that context, 64% of respondents are against recognising Kosovo’s independence should it turn out to be the main condition for EU accession, while at the same time around 60% of citizens support the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

In a comment on the latest opinion poll, the head of the EU Delegation in Serbia, Michael Davenport, said that Brussels was not asking Serbia to recognise Kosovo but that it expected of Belgrade a comprehensive normalisation of relations with Pristina.

More than half the respondents, 53%, believe Serbia will join the EU in the next ten years or earlier, while 14% believe it will never happen.

(Hina)

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