According to a survey conducted by Faktor Plus agency, 63% of people in Serbia think that frozen conflict is currently the best course of events in Kosovo and Metohija.
A fifth of citizens, or more than 21 percent, believes that the best solution at the moment would be an agreement from which both Serbs and Albanians will stand to lose and gain something, while 9 percent think it is necessary for Belgrade and Pristina to reach an agreement at all costs. 7% percent of them have no opinion on this issue, i.e. on the current situation in Kosovo, says Agency’s director, Vladimir Pejic.
“We were surprised by the high percentage of respondents declaring that frozen conflict is the best solution, which is truly a convincing result. It is unclear whether they favour this solution because of the lack of other solutions, or because of fear,” Pejic said.
The survey was conducted between 1st and 7th June, on a representative sample of 1,200 respondents from Serbia, excluding Kosovo and Metohija (KiM).
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The majority of citizens, 61% of them, believe that the negotiations about KiM are going in a wrong direction, as much as 30% did not know what to say, and only 9% estimated that the negotiations are going in the right direction. “The majority of Serbian citizens think that maintaining the status quo is better than the solutions that are currently on the table. This should not be construed as a failure of the campaign led by Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, who insists on overcoming the frozen conflict, but it is just an opinion of Serbian citizens that there is no solution that could be satisfactory to Serbia at the moment”, Pejic says.
More than a half think that Serbia should react in a military manner if the “Kosovo forces” occupy the north of Kosovo, with 36 percent of them saying that our army should be used only in the north of Kosovo and 16 percent in the whole of Kosovo. Pejic also says that citizens do not see any other solution to defend the Serbian population in Kosovo.
The survey also showed that 63 percent of citizens feel sad about the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija, while 40 percent of them are hopeful. In response to multiple-answer questions, 34 percent of the survey participants said that they were furious about the situation in Kosovo, 15 percent felt disappointed, while a fifth had other feelings.
“The feelings of sadness and fury tell us that the citizens are quite bitter”, Pejic said, adding that 53 percent of respondents replied that they felt KiM as part of their country, 28 percent responded with “yes, to a degree”, while 19 percent gave a negative answer.
A third of citizens think that the issue with KiM will be solved in the next two years (20 percent say one to two years and 11 percent by the end of this year), while 49 percent believe that this will not be resolved in the next five to ten years. 20 percent could not give a precise answer to this question.
When asked whether the KiM problem could be solved without the use of force, 46 percent respond positively, 27 percent negatively, and 27 percent with “I don’t know”. When asked what they would personally give up in favour of Kosovo and Metohija, 50 percent of the respondents said that they were not willing to allow their personal life to suffer because of Kosovo, 26% of them are not ready for excessive personal sacrifices, and only 18% of the respondents answered that they were largely ready to sacrifice their personal lives (6 percent gave the answer “I do not know”).
The largest number of citizens, 40 percent, believe that the main result of not signing the agreement with Pristina would be economic isolation, and 30 percent say that the war in Kosovo would break out. Also, 12% answered with “continuation of the current situation”, “war on the territory of whole Serbia” and “inclusion of Russia in the negotiation process” (6 percent), “restitution of Kosovo institutions under the authority of Belgrade” and “UN involvement in the negotiation process” (2 percent).
35 percent of the survey participants say that Serbia will not normalize the relations with Kosovo after the negotiations, while 34 percent say that Serbia will not recognize Kosovo’s independence, but will have to normalize relations. 21% of them have no opinion, and 12% think that Serbia will recognize Kosovo in exchange for EU membership. According to Vladimir Pejic, these results show that there is confusion among the citizens about the possible outcome. The results could also serve to give directions as to what the current government should do.
This post is also available in: Italiano