Survey: 77% of Serb citizens would not support Kosovo’s independence in exchange for faster EU accession for Serbia

 If a referendum on Kosovo’s independence would take place tomorrow, 66% of Serb citizens would not support Kosovo’s independence. On the other hand, as many as 77% of respondents would not support Kosovo’s independence for faster EU accession, according to this year’s survey conducted by the Institute for European Affairs. A total of 1,203 respondents participated in the poll.

The Institute for European Affairs, in cooperation with the Ninamedia market research company, conducted an opinion poll from March 6th – March 12th on the position of Serb citizens towards the territory of Kosovo. A total of 1,203 respondents participated in the poll. The survey was carried out for the fifth year in a row.

The citizens have divided views on whether Kosovo has been ‘lost’. The majority believe that Serbia cannot regain full control of Kosovo. Although more than 50% of respondents are certain that the Serbian government will not recognize Kosovo’s independence, the overwhelming majority do not know what the government’s plan on this issue is.

While 46% of citizens think that ‘Kosovo is not lost,’ 42% have the exact opposite view, and 12% of respondents are undecided.

Compared to previous research conducted by this Institute, the number of Serbian citizens who claim that Kosovo is not lost is now on the rise, while the number of those who think it is lost is declining.

For example, in the 2018 poll, 45% of respondents replied that Kosovo is not lost, 43% believed otherwise, but in the 2019 poll, however, those numbers rose to 47% or 41% respectively.

 The position that Kosovo is lost is more prevalent among respondents aged 30-44 years – more than 50% of them believe so, while almost 60% of respondents older than 60 claim that Kosovo has not been lost.

If a referendum on Kosovo’s independence were held tomorrow, the majority of respondents would vote against – 66% of them.

On the other hand, 14% would not go to the polls, 11% are undecided and 9% would vote in favor of Kosovo’s independence. The respondents who would vote against are mostly male and respondents older than 45. At the same time, the authors of the research revealed that compared to 2019, when 74.5% of respondents said they would vote against Kosovo’s independence in a referendum, that number is now lower.

When compared to the 2019 survey (74.5%), in this year’s survey, a decrease in the number of respondents who would vote against Kosovo’s independence was observed.

More than half of the respondents (53%) believe that this government will not recognize Kosovo, and more than a quarter (27%) think that it will, while a fifth of respondents are undecided.

According to the results of this survey, compared to the survey of the same organization conducted in previous years, a fewer number of citizens would vote against Kosovo’s independence in a referendum. At the same time, the number of Serb citizens who claim that Kosovo is not lost is on the rise.

The opinion that this government will not recognize Kosovo is more frequent among respondents older than 45 years of age, residents of Southern and Eastern Serbia, and suburban settlements. As the research data reveals, as the level of education increases, the number of respondents who believe that this government will not recognize Kosovo is declining.

The Institute obtained similar data in the previous surveys. When asked whether this government will accept Kosovo’s independence, 55% of respondents gave a negative answer, and 26% answered affirmatively in the 2018 survey. In 2019, 54% of respondents gave a negative answer, and 27% a positive one.

Research data indicate that as many as 77% of respondents would not support Kosovo’s independence for the sake of Serbia’s faster EU accession. Only 13% would support Kosovo’s independence, while 10% were undecided. Respondents over the age of 45 were more likely to believe that independence should not be recognized.

The percentage of those who would not agree to Kosovo’s independence for the sake of Serbia’s faster EU accession was higher in 2016 and 2018, ranging slightly above 80%. In 2019, this number dropped to 78%.

However, almost half of the respondents (46%) believe that it is not possible for Serbia to regain full control and sovereignty over Kosovo, while 38% believe that it is possible, and 16% of citizens are undecided.

As many as 89% of the Institute’s respondents do not know what the Serbian government’s plan for Kosovo is. These respondents were mostly women, respondents over the age of 30, from all regions – except Vojvodina, and residents of suburban areas.

When asked whether they would support the plan of President Aleksandar Vucic that would bring independence to Kosovo, and a stable state and a better standard to the citizens of Serbia, 57% answered negatively, 23% of respondents would support the plan, while 20% have no opinion on that issue.

The respondents who would not support this plan were predominantly men, respondents under the age of 45, and residents of urban areas.

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