"In Europe we trust": Gallup and the European Fund for the Balkans present the results of the latest Gallup Balkan Monitor on 17 November 2009
Brussels, November 2009
The EU retains its popularity in the Balkans
Despite the crisis that the Balkan region is going through, a strong pro-European feeling remains. If an EU accession referendum was held today, all of the Western Balkans countries would vote yes (70% or more give support in all countries) … with one exception … Croatia – the country currently closest to joining the EU.
Across all of the Balkan countries people have far more trust in the EU institutions than they have in their national governments. In Albania, 34% have a “lot of confidence” in the EU institutions, while only 13% have that amount of faith in their national government.
In Montenegro, support for EU accession has risen from 57% to 67% since 2008. In most areas of society, such as freedom of travel, employment, political stability, the rule of law and security, people are convinced that such an accession would bring improvements to their country. As an example, 72% of respondents from Serbiabelieve there would be more economic development and 93% of Kosovo Albanians believe there would be more employment opportunities. In Croatia, however, almost half fear a loss of sovereignty.
Many citizens in the region feel the situation is worsening
The material situation of individuals in the region seems to be worsening and Balkan citizens are complaining about issues on several fronts. For example:
- the percentage of respondents in Croatia satisfied with their standard of living has decreased from 59% in 2006 to 40% in 2009
- Croats are also much less pleased with their government‟s performance – 30% were unhappy in 2006, whereas more than twice as many (64%) feel that way in 2009
- 63% of Serbs feel their standard of living is getting worse
- one in five Macedonians have had serious problems in paying utility bills in the last 12 months
- the political failure of BiH is reflected in its polling data: only 17% – the lowest percentage in the region – feel represented by a politician or a party; and 60% say the country‟s government is doing a ‘poor’ job
- in Montenegro, around two-fifths of people (42%) are affected by organised crime on a daily or occasional basis
- across all countries in the Western Balkans, more than half of the respondents state that corruption is endemic in their national government.
As well as EU accession, greater neighbourhood integration is seen as a possible answer
More Balkan citizens see the need for closer regional cooperation: 51% of respondents are convinced that their country needs stronger ties with their neighbours, with only 6% of Balkan citizens stating that the ties are already too strong.
The field work for this latest wave was conducted in September 2009. The survey is conducted annually and upholds the strictest standards as to the representativeness of the survey, with 1,000 interviewees per country. The Gallup Balkan Monitor has been designed to cover all topics of interest to policymakers, scholars and the media.
The Gallup Balkan Monitor is the fruit of a successful partnership between the European Fund for the Balkans and Gallup. The „Monitor‟ is the first-ever in-depth survey of the whole Western Balkans. It reflects Balkan residents’ views on all aspects of their lives and provides strategic insights into today’s Balkans‟ socio-economic, socio-political and multi-cultural dimensions.
Since its inception, the Gallup Balkan Monitor has rapidly developed into the acknowledged public opinion authority on the Western Balkans. Its data is regularly used by policymakers in the European Institutions and other international organisations, scholars and journalists.
New features / new functionality
For 2009, not only has the questionnaire been updated and enlarged, but the results have been expanded to monitor trends with comparisons going back to 2006.
To enhance the usability of the data, a new dashboard (with time series and cutting-edge map visualisation) is being introduced and the Summary of Findings report will be available as a download from the Gallup Balkan Monitor‟s website: http://www.balkan-monitor.eu as of 14:30 on 17 November.