Eurometer survey: Macedonians consider Serbia their greatest friend

Istrazivanje Severna Makedonija.jpg
Source: Eurothink

About 65 percent of the citizens of North Macedonia believe that the EU's relationship with their country is unfair and blackmailing, 29 percent of them believe that the country will never join the EU, and Macedonians choose Serbia as their best friend, those are the results of the Eurometer survey for 2022, which is today presented by the Center for European Strategies Eurothink.

The results of the research indicate that there is a big drop in support for the European integration of North Macedonia, as well as that 61 percent of citizens estimate that their country is not a democratic country, Eurothink announced.

The survey was conducted based on a sample of 1,006 telephone respondents, of whom 53 percent believe that things in the country are moving in a completely wrong direction, while only 9 percent answered that things were going in the right direction.

Only 49 percent of citizens think that "general membership in the EU" would be good, which is a drop of 20 percent compared to the fall of 2021.

Executive Director of Eurothink, Dimitar Nikolovski, emphasized that the figures were record low in terms of the trust and attitude of the citizens of Macedonia towards the EU and the attitude towards the process of European integration.

"On the question - of what was the relationship of the EU towards North Macedonia, a maximum of 65 percent believe that it is unfair and blackmailing, while those who think it is fair are only 17 percent, which is a decline and oscillation of 20 percent compared to the previous year," he said.

These results go in parallel with the fact that 33 percent of respondents stated that North Macedonia should look for a development model outside the EU.

At the same time, 29 percent of citizens believe that the country will never enter the EU, and 42 percent that there is a state or international organization that represents a threat to the state.

"Bulgaria is considered the greatest enemy of Macedonia and this trend is continuously growing. If last year Bulgaria was in first place with 23 percent of citizens who considered it to be the greatest enemy of the country, this year that percentage is almost 28 percent. In contrast, Serbia is considered the biggest friend with 37 percent," he pointed out.

The research also shows other serious changes - more and more citizens have less and less trust in institutions.

Aleksandar Stojanovski from Eurothink warns that over the years there has been an increasing decline in citizens' trust in institutions and that the lowest level of trust this year is in the judiciary and prosecutor's office.

"Trust in the judiciary is 6 percent, in the prosecutor's office 7 percent. Last year, trust in these two pillars of the state was at 8 percent each," he said.

A novelty in this "Evrometar" is the inclusion of the question "what do citizens think about how state institutions deal with corruption" - an area that, first of all, Washington, but also Brussels, consider crucial for Macedonia.

To this question, 51 percent of people answered that "institutions are weak in the fight against corruption."