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    Residents of Belgrade with pictures of Vladimir Putin and Russian flags during Russian president's visit to Serbia on October 16, 2014.

    Serbians Prefer Russia to Europe, but Want to Join EU: Poll

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    Some 54 percent believe that the EU membership would improve economic situation, cut unemployment and help defeat corruption in Serbia. However, only 32 percent have a positive view of the European Union.

    MOSCOW, January 2 (Sputnik) — Serbian citizens like Russia more than the European Union, but still want to join the bloc due to perceived improvement of living conditions, the poll released by EurActiv Friday suggests.

    According to the poll conducted by Ipsos Strategic Marketing for Serbian Beta news agency, 52 percent of Serbians have a positive view of Russia and only 32 percent have a positive view of the EU. However, 54 percent of those questioned would have backed joining the 28-member bloc if the vote on the EU membership was to take place today.

    Those in favor of joining the European Union believe that the EU membership would improve economic situation, cut unemployment and help defeat corruption in Serbia. But only one Serbian in four is aware that Belgrade engaged in EU membership talks a year ago.

    Both Russia and the EU are viewed more positively by Serbians now than in February 2014, when the previous poll was held. Early in 2014, 46 percent Serbians said they like Russia and 27 said they have a positive attitude toward the European Union.

    In the recent months, Russia's relations with the West, including the European Union, deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine, as the United States and its allies accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow.

    Serbian senior officials, including the country's President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic repeatedly stated that Serbia would never join the Western sanctions sacrificing its cooperation with Russia for the sake of joining the EU.

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    Tags:
    Aleksandar Vucic, sanctions, poll, Tomislav Nikolic, United States, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia
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