Eastern Partnership Releases Public Opinion Survey

Each year, the European Union’s EU Neighbours East project conducts a public opinion survey among Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The survey, conducted by ACT LLC, aims to understand the opinions and levels of awareness of Eastern Partnership (EaP) citizens towards the European Union, European integration, and related subjects.

The survey asks about general perceptions about the European Union, understanding of values associated with the European Union, an assessment of European Union relations with their country, awareness of financial support provided by the European Union and an assessment of its effectiveness, primary sources of information, and general country evaluations and future expectations.

The results of the 2019 survey reveal that 52% of EaP countries’ citizens see the European Union in a positive light – a 7% increase since the survey’s initiation in 2016. Just 50% of Georgians have a positive image of the European Union, although only 4% see it as negative. 56% of Ukrainians have a positive view of the European Union, 62% of Armenians, 55% of Moldovans, 46% of Azerbaijanis, and just 36% of Belarusians – 56% are neutral.

Overall, 67% of EaP citizens say relations between the European Union and their country are ‘good.’ Georgia and Armenia are on the high end of the spectrum, with 80% and 92% of citizens, respectively perceiving relations as ‘good.’ While, on the low end, just 63% of Ukrainians and 62% of Belarusians see relations as ‘good.’

54% of EaP citizens know about the European Union’s financial support to the EaP, but just 50% of them see that support as effective – a 7% increase compared to 2016.

In terms of trust in institutions, the European Union was evaluated as the most trusted international institution, and the only one trusted by the majority (58%) of EaP citizens. Among Georgians, 71% trust the European Union. 63% of Ukrainians trust the European Union, an impressive number compared to only 22% who trust the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Ukraine has had perhaps more direct conversations and conflict surrounding the EEU than any other EaP country in recent years. Trust in the EEU among Ukrainians is down 7% from 2018 – the lowest in the whole of the EaP.

Of those EaP citizens who are aware of the European Union’s financial support to their country, 53% could name at least one specific program financed by the European Union. This number is 18% higher than in 2017, reflecting the European Union’s increased publicity and visibility efforts.

However, low awareness is still a problem, particularly among Azerbaijanis, of whom only 28% were aware of the European Union’s financial support to the country. Although, among those who were aware, 70% consider it effective. While 57% of Ukrainians are aware of the European Union’s financial support, only 46% believe it is effective.

74% of Georgians (a 16% increase from 2017) are aware of the European Union’s financial support to the country, and 62% consider the support to be effective. While 85% of Moldovans are aware of the European Union’s financial support, only 53% think it is effective.

Just 37% of Belarusians recognize European Union support to their country, which is, in fact, a 7% decrease from 2018. Just 41% of Belarusians see the support as effective, down 5% from last year, “possibly due to the slow progress on the consolidation of strategic relations and partnership with the EU,” posits the report.

By Samantha Guthrie

Source: European Union

04 July 2019 17:41