Approval of EEU by member states’ population down by 10% — survey

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) continues to enjoy significant trust and support from between 50% and 83% of the population of its five member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia), as well as Tajikistan (69%). At the same time, positive attitudes towards Eurasian integration have been declining gradually, both in the EEU countries and beyond, according to population surveys in seven countries (five EEU member states, Tajikistan and Moldova) conducted by the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) Centre for Integration Studies and Eurasian Monitor, an international partnership.

Over the EEU’s first years, from 2015 to 2017, the most significant decline in public support for membership of the Union was recorded in Russia (from 78% to 68% of the population) and Armenia (from 56% to 46% in 2015-2016, with an increase to 50% in 2017). In other EEU countries, public support for Eurasian integration reduced at a moderate pace: from 80% to 76% in Kazakhstan, and from 60% to 56% in Belarus. The highest support for Eurasian integration in these countries was recorded in 2014, with indicators averaging 10 percentage points higher than in 2017.

In Kyrgyzstan, the population has been demonstrating the most positive attitudes to the EEU membership since 2015. The actual figures changed insignificantly, from 86% to 83% in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In 2014 only 50% of the Kyrgyz population supported the country’s possible accession to the EEU and 30% were against this possibility. The main reason for this was the country’s economic difficulties.

The decline in approval for Eurasian integration among the EEU citizens was caused by both the increase in the share of those who are indifferent to the EEU and those who were not sure how to answer. People don’t turn their back to integration but lose interest in it. The highest level of indifference to the EEU in 2015-2017 was recorded in Russia (up from 15% to 25%), the survey said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA