A Troubeling Decline: EU integration is getting less popular in Serbia
January 22, 2009 1 Comment
It would seem ironic that with its most pro-European government since 2003 and most of the big issues like Kosovo not on the table, support for EU integration has dropped to 61% according to the latest opinon poll of the EU integration office of the government of Serbia. This is a drop of six percent, a very serious decline. It would seem that the conditions and the blockages esp. resulting from the Dutch veto over ICTY cooperation are the primary reason for the increasing dissatisfaction among citizens.
These numbers could be interpreted in two ways: The optimistic scenario is that these numbers are likely to go up once the conditions are fulfilled. Especially once Mladic is arrested, there is likely to be swift progress in terms of EU integration. The pessimistic scenario is that the rejection of EU ‘blackmail’ points to a deeper problem. Unlike in other enlargement countries, conditionality is not understood as part of a grand bargain which reaps benefits for the country, but as an unfair price to pay, as double standards. More so, it is unlikely that inconvenient conditions are going to go away. One day, not soon, but before Serbia joins the EU, there will be a big one–recognition of Kosovo. And whether with the current strategy of the Serbian government and the EU, it appears questionable whether the country can master EU integration.