Euro-optimism or euroscepticism: Opinions of students from Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria

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Abstract


The paper presents the opinions of students from two countries (Serbia and Macedonia) that strive to join the European Union and from one member country (Bulgaria) about the changes that brings the EU membership. These countries consider joining the European Union as a way out of the transition crisis, while the oldest member countries keep on talking about the decline in trust and euroscepticism. The research aims at identifying whether the students support the EU membership, believe in this community and in that the EU membership would contribute to changes in certain areas of social life; i.e. at identifying whether the students are euro-optimists or eurosceptics. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of 2,208 respondents in three university centers (Serbia - Niš, Macedonia - Bitola, and Bulgaria - Veliko Tarnovo). The data show that, despite accepting the European integration in general, students do not trust in the European Union and do not expect any substantial changes, which makes them eurosceptics. However, there are differences between the three student samples. Thus, Macedonian students expect improvements in the economic development, employment, living standards and social security, but do not expect any significant changes in the quality of life, in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and in preserving national identity and culture. Serbian students believe in the future economic growth and improving quality of the environment but think that all other areas of social life will remain unchanged. Bulgarian students say that the EU membership has not led to any changes and contributed to the higher unemployment rate and the larger gap between the rich and the poor.


About the authors

V Miltojević

University of Niš

Author for correspondence.
Email: vesna.miltojevic@znrfak.ni.ac.rs
Čarnojevića 10a, Niš, Serbia, 18000

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