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Serbo Journal

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People of Serbia want to join EU

A latest survey shows that two thirds of Serbian citizens support the country to enter the European Union, but most are not willing to make corresponding changes on their living and working habits, the local Beta news agency reported Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the Strategic Marketing agency for the Office for Association with the EU, aimed at acquiring the European orientation of people in Serbia. The results show, if a referendum on Serbia's EU membership were held tomorrow, 69.9 percent of the Serbian citizens would vote "yes," 12.3 percent would vote "no," while 17.8 percent would not vote at all.

The survey shows that 34.5 percent of respondents say Serbia will join the EU between 2010 and 2014, but many (32.4 percent) hope that this could happen as soon as next year. Besides, 39.4 percent of the respondents have a positive image of the EU, 22 percent have a negative one, while 38.5 percent are undecided.

These results are believed to show that Serbian citizens still view the EU as one of the most prestigious international institutions, yet the number of undecided respondents is rising because EU suspended its membership talks with Serbian in May, accusing the latter of not cooperating with the Hague tribunal properly by handing in the top war crimes suspect Radko Mladic.

Nearly half, or 46.6 percent, of respondents believe the talks will resume next year, 27.2 percent think this will happen by the end of the year, while 25.2 percent say they will be resumed later.

For the Serbian people, being a citizen of the EU primarily means being able to work in any EU member state (73 percent), the possibility to study there (54 percent) and the right to permanent residence in the EU (49 percent older than 30 and 59 percent of the youth).

However, it is especially worrying that 40.6 percent of respondents are not prepared to change their working habits, while 38 percent do not want to change their living habits. Only a little over 34 percent are ready to make corresponding changes on these habits.

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