Citizens have maintained a high level of support for Montenegro's membership in the European Union, according to the results of the opinion poll conducted by DeFacto Consultancy in June 2021. The opinion poll showed that 71.9% of Montenegrin citizens have a positive attitude towards the European Union, and 73.8% support their country's membership in the European Union, while 23.6% are against it. This confirms the stability of the results when compared to November last year. If a referendum were called now, 86.9% of those who would turn out would vote, would be in favour of Montenegro's membership in the European Union.
“Since 2015, we have been collecting data on citizens' attitudes towards the EU and membership in the EU, and we see stable support, slightly lower than last year, which was a record," said Olivera Komar from the DeFacto Consultancy, presenting the report.
She pointed out that, when asked openly what the main benefits of joining the EU are, almost half of the respondents said that it was better quality of life and better standard, in addition to employment opportunities, travel opportunities, as well as safety and security.
She pointed out that a large number of citizens recognise that the EU is the largest donor to Montenegro, both in general (42% of respondents) as well as related to assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic (40,4% of respondents).
In addition, 61.9% believe that the European Union's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Montenegro was quick and sufficient.
When it comes to being informed about the EU, Komar says that 60% of citizens say that they are well informed, but are mostly interested in topics which concern them personally.
“Support of 73.8% and the fact that 86.9% of citizens would vote positively in the referendum are high percentages which show that there is a high level of mobilisation and agreement that European integration is one of the priorities for the citizens of Montenegro," said Komar.
56.9% of the surveyed citizens believe that Montenegro is moving towards the EU quickly or as fast as the circumstances allow, while 56.5% believe that our country will become a member of the European Union by 2025.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Ambassador Oana Kristina Popa, pointed out that the trust that Montenegrin citizens have in the EU is both encouraging and humbling. As she said, it shows the mutual respect and friendship we have built in previous years.
She reminded of the support that the EU provided to Montenegro during the pandemic, which the citizens recognized, as shown in the opinion poll's results.
“Allow me to recall that, since the outbreak of the health crisis, the EU has provided over €55 million euros in grants, as well as 60 million euros in highly favourable loans, in order to help the health system, the economy and to save jobs," the ambassador said.
She said that the high level of support for Montenegro's accession to the EU gives a great incentive to continue working hard to achieve a common goal – to make Montenegro the next member of the European family as soon as possible.
“My message to the policy-makers is the following: citizens, year after year, keep sending the same message – that their future is in the EU. This message must transcend all political divisions and must become a strong motivational factor for everybody to put aside their differences and work towards a common goal. Now is the time to take a leap forward, to demonstrate commitment to Montenegro’s European future in both words and deeds. There is so much work to be done. Together you must drive the post COVID-19 socio-economic recovery, advance the rule of law reform agenda and reinforce cohesion in the society. With the EU by your side," said Ambassador Popa.
Commenting on the results of the research, the Chief Negotiator, Ms Zorka Kordić, pointed out that the citizens are very well informed about the accession process and that the government wants to continue this good practice. As she said, the entire government team, with the support of the EU, is working to affirm the process and bring it closer to the citizens, especially through various projects that are being implemented thanks to the EU funds.
“On the wings of these figures, which reaffirmed the results from December, we have an additional impetus for even more focused work in the coming period, when it comes to ensuring our internal readiness for membership," Kordić said.
DeFacto Consultancy conducted the opinion poll on a representative sample of 1004 respondents between June 3 and 22, 2021. The opinion poll was conducted within the project me4eu, which is funded by the European Union.