EU citizens are indifferent to Serbia joining the EU

The European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) multi-country opinion poll, commissioned through YouGov and Datapraxis in six EU member states (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, and Romania), found that, while there is considerable support for Ukraine, and, to a lesser extent, Moldova and Montenegro, being admitted to the European bloc, there are deep economic and security concerns relating to their accession.

There is also coolness towards the candidacy of Turkey, in particular, and towards those of Georgia and most countries of the Western Balkans.

On a more positive note, acknowledging the costs of enlargement doesn’t preclude support. Among the respondents who perceive Ukraine’s enlargement to have a small negative impact on the EU’s security, 44% support the accession of Ukraine while only 27% believe it should not be able to join the EU. And among respondents who see a small negative impact of Ukraine’s accession on the EU’s economy, 40% say it should be able to join the EU (while just 31% say it shouldn’t) – a clear indication of the unwavering European support towards the country.

The dataset suggests there is a clear divide in how citizens view the subject of enlargement – with those in ‘older’ EU member states, including Austria, France, Denmark and Germany, more likely to object to a widening of membership, while those in ‘newer’ member states, including Poland and Romania, see expansion in a more favourable light. It also reveals regional divergences of opinion on the prospective timing of enlargement – with fewer than a third of citizens of the ‘older’ bloc of member states (Denmark 29%, Austria 28%, Germany 28% and France 27%) expressing the view that the EU should be looking to add new members ‘at this moment’, compared to about half of the respondents in the ‘newer’ member states (Poland 48% and Romania 51%).

The candidacy of Turkey is held in particularly low regard, across Europe, with more than half of those surveyed (51%) by ECFR indicating that the country ‘should not be able to join the EU’. The opinion is also indifferent among respondents of the six member states towards Kosovo (37%, a plurality, against), Serbia (35%, a plurality, against) and Albania (35%, a plurality, against), and their respective pitches for entry. 

(Danas, 12.12.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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