CEAS Survey: Serbian citizens for stronger cooperation with Russia and China

Photo: www.nezavisne.com

“Serbia can best protect itself from future security challenges by strengthening security and defense cooperation with Russia and China. In a possible referendum on Serbia’s NATO entry, 78 Serbian citizens would vote against joining the organization, a 10 percent more than previous year. The eventual help of the West to Serbia in overcoming the biggest environmental problems would not change the negative attitude towards NATO. Most Serbian citizens believe that America’s policy toward Serbia has not changed much in recent years. ”

These are just some of the results of a survey conducted by the Belgrade-based NGO CEAS (Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies) on a sample of 1,000 respondents. The name of the survey is “Serbia and the New Horizons- the public about Security Challenges, NATO, America, Kosovo and Regional Co-operation” and was conducted by CEAS together with CESID, based on randomly selected adult citizens of Serbia. Responding to a question with which countries Serbia should have the best relations with, most respondents, as many as 80 percent, said that they should be all neighboring countries. It is encouraging that 2 percent more respondents than previous year (49 percent, up from 47 percent last year) answered positively “if a referendum were held on Serbia’s accession to the European Union, would you vote for it”. However, it is not encouraging that the percentage of those who would be opposed to a possible referendum on Serbia’s EU accession (36 percent in 2018 and 40 percent in 2019) has increased.

On the question: “why they voted against Serbia’s entry into NATO,” 57 percent said that the reason was NATO’s bombing. Most survey participants believe that Western European leaders should more often regret civilian casualties during the bombing of Serbia, but only on the condition that such actions are motivated by their sincere remorse. The major percentage of participants do not mind that Serbia is cooperating with NATO, but only when it comes to confronting natural disasters and responding to emergencies.

In a number of questions, this survey asked citizens to say what their prerequisites would be for possible mutual recognition of Serbia and Kosovo. Most participants in this survey felt that such a thing would not be feasible without the possibility of Serbia having access to natural resources in four municipalities in northern Kosovo, as well as without special status for Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo. However, the largest percentage of respondents do not want to accept the view that Kosovo is an independent state. Most respondents felt that a possible compromise solution for Kosovo should entail enhanced autonomy for the four Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo, which KFOR would guarantee with its presence.

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