A survey on Bulgarians’ attitudes towards the European Union found continued strong support for membership and closer integration in the bloc, but also showed some apparent confusion about the specifics of such integration.
According to the survey, done the Open Society Institute – Sofia in April 2018, support for EU membership remained high and 61 per cent would vote in favor and only 16 per cent would be opposed if the question were to be put to a hypothetical referendum.
A total of 45 per cent of the respondents had a positive assessment of Bulgaria’s membership in the EU so far and 16 per cent had a negative one, while one third said that they did not know.
Overall, the EU was the second most trusted institution among Bulgarians – at 49 per cent, only slightly behind the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which had the trust of 52 per cent of the respondents.
In terms of future integration into the EU, half of the respondents were in favour of membership in the visa-free travel Schengen area, a drop of 17 percentage points from the peak reached in 2011, while the number of those opposed tripled over the same period of time to 18 per cent.
A plurality of 42 per cent supported Bulgaria’s future entry into the euro zone, while 24 per cent were opposed. But at the same time, only 22 per cent were in favour of replacing its national currency, the lev, with the euro, while 56 per cent were opposed.
“Some of the citizens appear not to be aware that membership in the euro zone requires replacing the lev with the euro and are inclined to approve everything ‘European’ on an abstract level, but do not accepts its practical implementation in the country,” said Marin Lessenski, OSI-Sofia program director.
The survey was carried out among 1179 adult Bulgarians by an Open Society Institute – Sofia team and was funded fully by OSI-Sofia.
(Photo: EU audiovisual service)