Poll: 89 Percent of Serbs against Membership in NATO

As many as 89 percents of citizens do not support Serbia’s entry into NATO, shows a survey conducted within the framework of the Atlantic Council of Serbia, which was presented on Tuesday in Novi Sad.

Over 70 percent of respondents do not support Serbia’s membership in NATO because of the bombing in 1999, show the results of this survey, conducted in late May and early June, by the agency Ninamedia on a representative sample of 800 citizens.

According to the survey, 73 percent of respondents are not aware of the fact there have been no wars in the territory of the states that are members of NATO since they became the members of the alliance.

The US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said to reporters after the presentation of the survey results that he was not surprised by the results because the citizens of Serbia did not forget the NATO military intervention.

Scott said it was noticeable that the number of news about NATO increased, but they were still mostly negative, despite the fact that NATO and Serbia were increasingly cooperating through military exercises and considering the progress of the overall cooperation.

He added it was important that the journalism in Serbia should be based on facts, but he added there were media in Serbia that “simply did not want” to publish positive news about NATO.

Norwegian Ambassador Arne Sannes Bjornstad said that NATO needed to face the challenges and change the negative image in Serbia. He also said it was necessary to talk more about what kind of benefits Serbia had owing to the cooperation with NATO.

Journalist Milivoje Mihajlovic said that, in the tabloid press, there dominated an entirely negative image about NATO and added that 12 years ago there was a better perception of this Alliance in Serbia.

“Since the end of 2007, the syntagm ‘Euro-Atlantic integration’ disappears from the public discourse and there remains only ‘European integration’, which was a clear sign that this was the policy of the authorities’, Mihajlovic said.

He added that Serbia was surrounded by countries which were NATO members and that the NATO forces were at this moment the only forces which could protect the security of the Serbs in Kosovo.

“At the same time, there is virtually no news in the media about the participation of the Serbian forces in the NATO military exercises and peacekeeping missions”, Mihajlovic said.