68.9% of Bulgarians want Bulgaria to maintain a Firm Position on North Macedonia in the EU

Politics | April 2, 2022, Saturday // 10:17|  views

68.9% of the people in Bulgaria believe that the country should maintain its firm position on the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to the EU. Just over a fifth are of the opposite opinion - that our country should soften its position.

This shows a survey on the topic of the Gallup International Balkan Independent Research Program.*

There is no significant change in public attitudes on the subject, sociologists comment.

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In early 2022, for example, Gallup International Balkan re-examined in its regular program public attitudes towards the conditions for the Republic of North Macedonia's EU membership. 60.8% chose the option of allowing Macedonia but only if the agreement is implemented. A comparison with November 2020, when the issue was again actively discussed, clearly shows that the position on this issue among Bulgarians has hardened - the share of responses “only after the implementation of the contract” in 2020 was 51.1%, i.e. ten points lower than now. For the unconditional admission of Macedonia on the road to the EU at the beginning of this year were 7.6%, and in 2020 - a similar share of 8%. The most serious growth is in a year and a half of those who are extreme in their desire not to allow Skopje: 15.3% now, against 6.1% in 2020.

The consolidation of positions comes at the expense of halving those who cannot form an opinion. This means that in the course of the debate in recent months, society is apparently gradually forming a more active position and it is showing signs of consolidation in one direction. Thus, in practice, in two years there is an increase in the principled support in our society regarding the accession of North Macedonia to the European Union but only under the emphasized condition that it fulfills the agreement with us.

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For two consecutive years (2020 and 2021) Gallup International Balkan checked the attitudes of Bulgarian citizens and another indicator related to the topic of “North Macedonia” - the priorities of Bulgarians over our neighbor.

As with the issue of North Macedonia's membership, there has been a decline in hesitation and a firmer stance. Within a year, the share of those who said that the most important thing is for North Macedonia to settle its relations with us, and not so much whether it will join the EU, increased by 13 percentage points - again at the expense of the hesitant zone. The share of responses may have swelled slightly - from 5.8% to 7.5 percent

The data are not surprising given the sensitivity of the vast majority of Bulgarians on the issue. Also, comparing two points in time does not mean a lasting trend. Subsequent research will show whether there are clear trends. The impact of the new processes, the possible impact of the war in Ukraine, the intensification of power on the subject, etc., remains to be seen.

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* Data are from the Gallup International Balkan Independent Research Program, namely a telephone survey of 800 people conducted in February 2022, a telephone survey conducted in June 2021 of 890 people, and face-to-face surveys conducted respectively: November 2020 among 808 people; December 2021 among 803 people; January 2022 among 805 people. The absolute maximum error is ± 3.5% for 50% shares. 1% of the sample is equal to about 54 thousand adult Bulgarians.

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/Gallup International Balkan, OFFNews

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Tags: macedonia, North, Bulgaria, position


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