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Adrienne Warren

ENPI Barometer: Taking the EU Pulse in the Eastern Neighbourhood

Moldovans, Georgians,Ukrainians, and Armenians want the EU to have a greater influence in their countries, according to the newly released EU Neighbourhood Barometer survey. The EU Neighbourhood Barometer – an opinion polling and media monitoring device which is part of the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme – aims at assessing knowledge and perception of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and its cooperation activities and programmes, says statement issued by the European Neighborhood Info Center. 

Lastochkino gnezdo--Swallow's Nest Castle, Crimea, Ukraine. author: Andrew Kudrin. Source: Flickr

Lastochkino gnezdo–Swallow’s Nest Castle, Crimea, Ukraine. author: Andrew Kudrin. Source: Flickr

The surveys were conducted in November-December 2012 in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, and the resulting statistics were based on approximately 1,000 interviews in each country. The survey consisted of questions like “Should the EU have a greater role in your country, and in which sectors?”, “Do you have a positive perception of the EU? “, “Are you satisfied with your life, with the way democracy works in your country, do you feel things are going in the right direction?”

Opinions of the EU varied across the Eastern Partnership countries, with some expressing a desire to have more active relations with the EU, while others shared a less positive view.

According to the findings, most Ukrainians feel the European Union is an important partner, and would like it to play an even greater role in their country, across a range of areas. Just over three quarters of those asked (76%) wanted a greater EU role in economic development, 69% in trade, 64% in human rights, and 60% in democracy. The poll found that 53% of Ukrainians trusted the EU  more than other international institutions like the UN and NATO, and significantly more than they trust their own government (23%), Parliament (18%) or political parties (18%).  41% of respondents felt the EU had good relations with Ukraine, while 30% felt they were bad.

Meanwhile, most Moldovans feel that the European Union is an important partner, bringing peace and stability in the region. Again, just over three quarters of those asked (77%) wanted a greater EU role in economic development, 60% in trade, 60% in human rights, and 52% in democracy. More than half of those asked (55%) saw the EU in a positive light, while 12% expressed a negative view of the EU.

In Belarus, the majority expressed a wish for the European Union to play a greater role in their country, especially in economic development and trade. More than two-thirds of those asked (65%) wanted a greater EU role in economic development, 71% in trade, and 53% in regional cooperation. In relation to other areas of interest,  42% wanted greater EU involvement in human rights (compared to 34% who don’t), and 45% in democracy, with 35% who don’t.

The poll found that 36% of Belarussians trusted the EU – the same as trusted the UN, but significantly more than NATO; trust is higher in their own government (56%) and Parliament (46%), but, similar to other Neighbourhood countries, trust in political parties is low at 23%.Just 26% per cent of respondents felt the EU had good relations with Belarus, against 46% who felt they were bad.

Georgians expressed an overwhelming support for the EU, with results showing that most Georgians feel the European Union is an important partner of their country, and would like it to play an even greater role in Georgia, in a wide range of areas.

Almost all those asked – 92% – wanted a greater EU role in economic development, 87% in trade, 87% in human rights, 85% in democracy, and 83% in regional cooperation – consistently higher than the average across the region.
The poll found that 71% of Georgians trusted the EU more than other international institutions like the UN and NATO, and even slightly more than they trust their own government (65%), Parliament (62%) or political parties (46%). Eighty-two per cent of respondents felt the EU had good relations with Georgia, against just 8% who felt they were bad.
Similarly, Armenia showed huge support for increased relations with the EU in all sectors. 85% wanted a greater EU role in economic development, 87% in trade, 84% in human rights, 74% in democracy, and 78% in regional cooperation, demonstrating numbers similar to neighbouring Georgia. The poll found that 63% of Armenians trusted the EU  slightly less than they trusted the UN (68%), but more than NATO (48%), and more than they trust their own government (52%), Parliament (38%) or political parties (37%).

 Eighty-one per cent of respondents felt the EU had good relations with Armenia, against just 13% who felt they were bad.
Azerbaijanis largely felt that the current state of relations between Azerbaijan and the EU was sufficient. Of those asked, just 37% felt the EU was an important partner. Most of those asked wanted a greater EU role in democracy (59%) and human rights (51%), with smaller percentages looking for a greater role in economic development (48%), and trade (47%).

The survey found that 39% of Azerbaijanis trusted the EU – above the level of trust in the UN (19%) and NATO (27%). Uniquely, those asked overwhelmingly trusted their government (92%) and Parliament (68%), but were less trusting of political parties (22%).

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/EastPartnership/status/329231758950273025″]

Sources: ENPI Info Centre 

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Graduated in International Relations and Russian. Resident of Estonia, but a citizen of the world. Most interested in contributing to the progress and education of mankind--as the primary tool of achieving global unity.

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