Montenegro: Largest support for EU membership in five years

Hahn and Marković; Photo: Government of Montenegro

PODGORICA – According to the survey carried out by De Facto agency and commissioned by European Delegation to Montenegro, 65% of citizens support Montenegro’s accession to the EU, while only 23% oppose it. Furthermore, 67% of citizens, and 74% of youth, have a positive opinion of the EU.

In comparison, according to the most recent polling by the Ministry for European Integration, only 48% of Serbian citizens consider EU membership to be a positive thing. Montenegro’s numbers are generally significantly more in favour to the EU accession than Serbia’s.

In the year 2013, the support for EU membership in Montenegro (in a potential referendum) was only 53%, and the number has continuously increased since then.

In a future referendum, 65% would vote for the accession, with 13% voting against it. Of those who would certainly or probably participate in the referendum (78% of citizens), full 84% would vote “yes”, which represents a 9% increase from 2017.

In Serbia, on the other hand, 55% would vote for the accession, 21% would vote against, while 24% would abstain or remains undecided.

The speed of the process in Montenegro has been assessed as “very fast” by 20% of the participants, while 34% think it is going “as fast as the circumstances allow”. Around 30% is not satisfied with the speed, and the further 14% think that the membership will never occur. Almost half of the surveyed believe that Montenegro will become an EU member either in 2025 or in 2027.

Membership benefits

The youth and the unemployed are seen as the two groups that would benefit the most from the EU accession, while the entrepreneurs are believed to be the ones the process would impact most negatively.

Half of the surveyed identify the EU as the biggest foreign donor to Montenegro. Russia holds the first spot for the 15%, and China for 12%.

In the Serbian survey, the number of those that think that the EU is the biggest donor is also at the first place, but with only 24%, and is closely followed by Russia with 21%, even though the latter country is not among the first nine donors in Serbia.

About 65% believe that Montenegro should have the closest ties with either EU (46%) or the US (19%) in the future, while Russia is chosen by 18% of the citizens.

How informed are the citizens?

More than 80% of citizens of Montenegro consider themselves at least moderately informed of the EU integration process, with the number of those describing themselves as well informed and those describing themselves as moderately informed being of roughly equal size.

About 20% of the participants are interested in the process as a whole, with additional 38% being interested in the information relevant to themselves. According to the majority of the citizens (55%), the Government is the most responsible actor when it comes to informing the public about the process. The second place is held by the media (32%) and the third by the Office for European Affairs (26%).

The Government is also seen as the actor contributing the most to the integration process, and it is followed by the Assembly, the Office for European Affairs, the media and the members of the negotiating team. As an individual, Prime Minister Duško Marković is identified by the majority of the citizens as the main contributor to the process, closely followed by the President Milo Đukanović.