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Kosovo citizens believe that the EU will solve all their economic and social welfare problems, a survey shows.
Over 70% of Kosovo’s citizens would vote for membership of their country in the EU, if there was a referendum on the issue, a survey shows.
The survey was financed by the “EU perspective for Kosovo”, a European Union-funded project, and conducted in May and June this year by UBO Consulting. Survey sample included 1,500 people of all ethnicities.
According to the survey, 72 per cent of Kosovo citizens consider European integration necessary in order to solve the existing economic problems.
“Ninety per cent of our respondents think that Kosovo should reinforce its ties with the EU, while over 70 per cent think that the integration into the EU would solve economic problems and provide more prosperous future for the youngsters,” Melvin Asin from EU’s office in Kosovo told reporters on Tuesday in Pristina.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The newborn country was left isolated after Europe lifted visa requirements for nationals of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro in December 2009 and for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania in 2010.
The EU has started liberalising its visa regime for Kosovo citizens back in January, after the country was deemed to have fulfilled a set of conditions.
The European Commission, in its October 2011 progress report on Kosovo, said Pristina had achieved the necessary goals for visa talks to start, though many shortcomings remained in the area of the rule of law.
Kosovo’s Deputy Minister for European Integration, Gezim Kasapolli, says that the survey findings are impressive as far as the response of the minorities is concerned too.
“Kosovo Serbs have more positive stance towards the EU compared to two years ago. Around 30% of the Kosovo Serb respondents see the European Union positively, compared to 0% in 2000. In 2000, 98% of the Kosovo Serbs saw the EU as a negative thing, while today only 24% think so. This is a great progress,” Kasapolli told reporters.
The survey also shows that the public trusts journalists more than EU’s decision-makers.
In two high-profile war crimes trials currently ongoing in Pristina, a series of witnesses have retracted previous statements alleging abuse at Kosovo Liberation Army detention centres.