The European Fund for the Balkans together with Gallup Europe organized the panel discussion “Is it finally time to accelerate the process?” as a follow-up to the third wave of results of the Gallup Balkan Monitor.
The discussion was opened by Andrzej Pyrka, researcher at Gallup Europe, who presented the main findings and the most intriguing results of the survey on political, economic and social attitudes and views of Serbian citizens. He also presented an interesting comparison with results from previous years across different countries from the Western Balkans region. This was an excellent introduction which opened a lively discussion between panellists.
The panellists were Srdjan Majstorovic, Deputy Director, EU Integration Office, Serbia, Milan Pajevic, Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the ISAC Fund, Serbia and Luis de Almeida Sampaio, Ambassador of the Republic of Portugal in Serbia.
Srdjan Majstorovic stated that although the EU lost its “magic”, as Ivan Krastev wrote in his introduction to the Summary of Findings, it didn’t lose its importance and purpose. Serbian citizens are thinking more rational now about the EU and they are becoming more aware of the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership. According to the survey, as many as 63 percent of citizens of Serbia would vote for Serbia’s membership in the EU.
Milan Pajevic emphasized that the Serbian citizens are not well informed about the essence of European integration and how it affects our everyday life. It is the responsibility of the political class, he said, to inform citizens about this process. He also estimated that things are improving and that the politicians are acting more rational in the latest period and that they should keep going in this direction.
Luis del Almeida Sampaio gave the EU point of view and stressed the importance of EU integration as a way to improve the relations with our neighbours. He showed the example of his own country Portugal and Spain, who had turbulent past but are now living peacefully and have good neighbourly relations within the EU.
The discussion was moderated by the EFB executive director – Hedvig Morvai Horvat.
You can see more details about the Gallup Balkan Monitor here.
This was just the first of seven panel discussions to come. The next one will be held in Zagreb on 26th of November with topic “Croatia and the region: heading in the right direction?”. Please see the invitation here and join us in Zagreb.