The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) presented results of the 2019 edition of the Balkan Barometer, the fifth instalment of the annual survey of regional perceptions and attitudes across a wide array of social, political and economic factors impacting life in South East Europe (SEE).
Results of the survey, according to RCC, are modestly optimistic, as they show growing support for the EU membership - with more than half of all respondents viewing EU accession favorably for the first time since the Barometer’s inception in 2015.
Regional cooperation continues to be important to an overwhelming majority of respondents, as 74 percent of polled citizens either ‘tend to agree’ or ‘totally agree’ that regional cooperation can contribute to the political, economic or security situation in their societies. Actually, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are the only two economies coming in at under 70 percent of positive respondents.
Furthermore, 56 percent of citizens believe that EU membership would be a good thing for their countries, including 47 percent of polled citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to Balkan Barometer, respondents continued to largely associate membership in the EU with economic prosperity and freedom to travel.
Respondents still identify unemployment (28 percent) as the major problem for the region, followed by economic situation (27 percent), corruption (11 percent), crime (10 percent), and political disputes (eight percent).
At the same time, 68 percent of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are either completely or mostly dissatisfied with the way things are going in their society - compared to 76 percent one year ago, or to regional average of 54 percent.
55 percent of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are not satisfied with the overall security situation in the country, while 68 percent are not satisfied with the level of prices.
Furthermore, 29 percent of respondents believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina will never become an EU Member State, while 32 percent believe that it might happen by 2030.
Overall, the region has grown more positive both about its present situation as well as its outlook for the future, indicating a growing level of confidence in the financial stability of the six SEE economies.