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Less than a half of Serbian citizens now support joining the EU, new research shows, while support for joining NATO has tumbled to a mere 14 per cent .
|Ddirector of the BCBP Sonja Stojanovic | Photo by Beta|
According to new research, entitled "Citizens of Serbia between EU, NATO and Russia," conducted by the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, BCBP, only 47 per cent of citizens now wish Serbia to join the EU.
That is a drop of 2 per cent drop since the release of research by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CESID, in September.
While 35 per cent of people explicitly object to Serbia's European integration process, 18 per cent say they are indecisive on that matter.
The strongest opponents of the European Union in Serbia are young people aged 18 to 29, who are 41.5 per cent against the EU, and 40.9 per cent for.
|Gligorov: No EU for Serbia|
Economist Vladimir Gligorov said on Wednesday that Serbia already brought the decision not to join EU, and added that this fact will have significant economic consequences.
He explained that Serbia will lose important investments, and possibilities for importing goods.
Gligorov suggested that the structures on power will be better off if they would simply announce to the people that they don't want to enter EU.
„It is more popular to be a patriot that way. We were there 20 years ago... I think that now, just as in the beginning of 90's a decision was brought not to join EU, and the reason for that is not connected with Kosovo, but it is only because it's much more simple to the authorities that way. Few people are aware that there is many institutional and other reforms are part of the EU conditions. Having that in mind, I understand why authorities use excuses“, Gligorov said for national broadcaster B92.
Presenting the research, the director of the BCBP, Sonja Stojanovic, said that the decline of pro-European enthusiasm and the rise of euro-scepticism was "a consequence of the conditioning of further EU progress, and the responses of leading politicians, from whom in the past month only negative statements on the EU could be heard".
She added that the EU accession in Serbia was mostly supported by the so-called winners of the transition process who fear that they may lose out if the integration process becomes frozen.
She noted that the biggest euro-sceptics are the citizens of the capital, Belgrade.
The same sesearch also monitored several security issues such as the relationship of Serbian citizens towards the status of Kosovo and the issue of NATO membership.
While a significant majority of participants, 62 per cent, say Kosovo should be never recognized by Serbia, only 11 per cent would change their mind on Kosovo if recognition of Kosovo led directly to EU accession.
A similar percentage of people oppose joining NATO – 65 per cent. Support for NATO has significantly fallen compared to previous years, with only 14 per cent now backing membership.
Turning to the best foreign friends of Serbia, most polled citizens see Russia, Greece, China, Japan and Italy in that category. The biggest threats are the US, Germany, Albania, Britain and Croatia, they say.
The Serbian paramilitary who became a key prosecution witness at his former comrades’ trial for war crimes in Kosovo says he had to speak out about the brutal massacres his unit committed.