The European Union’s approval of Serbia as a candidate for membership helped recover popular support in the country for joining the bloc.
The two-stage poll conducted a few days before and after the EU granted the status to Serbia on March 1, showed the support increased to 54.2 percent from 51.3 percent, while the level of opposition fell to 31.8 percent from 33.1 percent, said the Center for Democracy and Development, which conducted the survey on Feb. 20-25 and March 4-7.
The percentage of the undecided dropped to 14 percent from 15.6 percent, among the 1,550 people surveyed by telephone, the the Novi Sad, Serbia-based non-government organization said. The sentiment faltered last year amid controversies over which conditions the country must meet to become a candidate.
The EU move also improved the rating of the ruling Democrats of President Boris Tadic, ahead of elections expected in May, the poll showed. Support for the pro-Western party increased half percentage point to 27.5 percent, whereas the biggest opposition group, the Serbian Progressive Party remained at 29 percent. No margin of error was provided.
“The positive message from Brussels brought the Democrats a mild increase in popularity, whereas rejection would have been a horrible blow, a much bigger drop” in the rating, said analyst Branko Radun at the presentation of the poll in Belgrade today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at email@example.com