Friday, February 01, 2008

Fewer Macedonians Optimistic About EU

The high level of optimism that Macedonian citizens previously expressed about their country's prospects for EU integration is decreasing, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by the EU.

A Eurobarometer report published on Thursday finds that the number of people who believe the EU is taking account of Macedonia's interests significantly decreased, from 54 per cent in the summer of last year to 40 per cent in the autumn.

The survey, which is conducted twice a year, shows that unemployment, the difficult economic situation and the crime rate continue to be regarded by Macedonian citizens as the country’s biggest problems, while concern about price increases is rising.

Unlike citizens in the EU, around 30 per cent of Macedonians believe that local media coverage of the EU is too high and too positive.

Still, 48 per cent of Macedonians believe that the EU is having a positive influence on the domestic economy.

Despite the social and economic difficulties that Macedonia is experiencing, 38 per cent of its people believe the country is moving in the right direction, compared to 33 per cent who think the opposite.

The survey was conducted from September to November 2007 in all EU member states and in the three candidate countries, Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey.

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