Serbian citizens’ support for EU accession declining; Serbs view Greeks as their biggest friends

According to a survey conducted by the Institute for European Affairs in collaboration with Ninamedia, 46% of the respondents were in favour of Serbia joining the EU.

At the same time, however, the data indicate that support for membership is decreasing, although most citizens believe Serbia would benefit from the EU membership. Serbs consider Greeks a “friendly” nation, while Croatia is perceived as the greatest “enemy”.

According to the survey participants, the relations with Montenegro have deteriorated, and the best relations that Serbia has with a regional country are with Bosnia. Finally, citizens expect more information on the EU from the media and the government.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Institute for European Affairs, in collaboration with the Ninamedia research agency, conducted a public opinion survey on relations between Serbia and the European Union, which lasted from 12th to 23rd March. The research was conducted on a representative sample of 1,207 respondents.

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On a scale of 1 to 5, where the average score is 3, the average relationship score between Serbia and the EU is 2.66. The majority of Serbian citizens rate relations between Serbia and the EU with a 3. The highest average scores are given to the EU by people under the age of 30. The average assessment of relations between Serbia and the EU is at the same level as the previous survey conducted in 2019.

In this survey, support for Serbia’s accession to the EU is the lowest since the measurement began in 2016. Of the total respondents, 46% support Serbia’s accession to the EU, 39% are against, while 12% do not know how to express themselves on this issue. Most of the respondents who support Serbia’s accession to the EU are men, aged 30 to 44 or over 60, residing in the region of Western Serbia and Sumadija, as well as residents in urban areas.

The majority of respondents believe that Serbia would benefit from cooperating with the EU (67%) (men, with a high school or university diploma, residing in Western Serbia, Sumadija and Belgrade), 23% believe that Serbia would not benefit from the cooperation, while 15% of them did not give an answer.

The largest number of survey respondents (33.7%) does not have an opinion on which EU country is Serbia’s best friend. The majority – 21.7% – believe it is Greece, followed by Germany (10.6%), Hungary (7.5%), France (5.8%) and Spain (5.1%), while other countries got less than 4%.

On the other hand, when it comes to assessing which country is Serbia’s biggest “enemy”, the majority of respondents (36.7%) have no opinion. However, Croatia (20.8%), Great Britain (19.8%) and Germany (15.8%) are the most cited, while other countries got less than 2%. Comparing the results with previous surveys, there is a linear decline in the number of those Serbian citizens who perceive Croatia as Serbia’s greatest “enemy”.

When it comes to information about the EU, 44% of citizens believe that there is not enough information about the EU (mainly women, under the age of 30, residing in eastern and southern Serbia and the number of these decreases in more educated parts of the population). Compared to the previous research, the perception of the respondents’ awareness of the EU remained at the same level.

(Nova, 09.09.2020)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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