Pessimism and ambivalence about Kosovo’s future

Pessimism and ambivalence about Kosovo’s future

Pristina, July 7, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Pristina engaged Prism Research, a public opinion research firm (National Endowment Development ), to conduct a poll in Kosovo from February 8 to 22, 2014, on perceptions and attitudes of citizens regarding the Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.

The poll was administered in the context of Agreement implementation delays due to a temporary halt in negotiations during elections in Kosovo and Serbia, and due to political instability in the North during prolonged local elections.

The release of the report was postponed owing to early parliamentary elections held in June 2014. A total of 1,205 interviews were conducted from a representative sample of the general population.

Trained interviewers conducted face to face interviews with randomly selected residents in randomly selected households.

The sample was divided into ethnic and geographic substrata. Data is weighted based on official figures for ethnic population statistics.

The response rate was 76. 9 percent in Albanian majority municipalities and 74.2 percent in Serb majority municipalities.

The margin of error was +/-2.8 percent .Remaining percentages in this report are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Respondents were interviewed in the Albanian majority municipalities of Gjilan, Peja, Pristina,Prizren, South Mitrovica, in the Serb majority northern municipalities of Leposavic, North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Zvecan, and in Kosovar Serb communities in central and Southern regions Gracanica, Klokott/Vrbovac,Novo Brdo, Parteš, Ranilug,and Strpce.

Survey results were analyzed by ethnicity, region, gender, and age. Most of the analysis focuses onthe primary groups: Kosovar Serbs living in Kosovo’s northern municipalities, Kosovar Serbs in the South, and Kosovar Albanians throughout the country. The majority of questions address understandings of and attitudes towards the April 2013 Agreement; as noted in the text, some questions refer to the ongoing dialogue process between Serbia and Kosovo , of which the Agreement is one milestone.

According to this research, Across ethnic groups and regions, respondents express pessimism and ambivalence about the direction of Kosovo.

The result shows that, Northern Kosovar Serbs, followed by Kosovar Albanians, are most pessimistic about the direction Kosovo is heading, while a plurality of Kosovar Serbs from the South and non-Serb minorities are ambivalent.

Only 7 percent of Northern Kosovar Serbs, 18 percent of Kosovar Serbs from the South, and 24 percent of Kosovar Albanians believe the country is headed in the right direction.

Respondents are slightly more optimistic about their personal lives. Kosovar Serbs tend to think their lifes will remain the same or perhaps improve this year, and Kosovar Albanians are likely to believe their lives will improve.

Following local elections which saw the arrival of new mayors to many city halls across the country, Kosovar Serbs are most concerned with the quality of municipal services, unemployment, and policing and rule of law as priority local issues.

Kosovar Albanians are most concerned with unemployment, economic development, and corruption. Support for the diplomatic dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia varies significantly by ethnic group and region.

Two thirds of Kosovar Serbs from the North oppose the diplomatic dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, and youth in the North have the highest rate of opposition to the diplomatic dialogue at 72 percent

In stark contrast, Kosovar Serbs in the South are the most supportive of all groups, at 62 percent, along with Pristina residents.

Kosovar Albanians are evenly split in their support and opposition to the dialogue.

Knowledge of the Agreement

Most Kosovar Serbs across the country get their information on the dialogue from Belgrade based media, though around a one fifth relies on local media. About half of Kosovar Albanians get information on the dialogue from local media and half from Pristina based media. All groups have high trust in the reliability of information on the dialogue.

A strong majority of all ethnic and regional groups demonstrate knowledge of the issues areas included in the April 2013 Brussels Agreement

Kosovar Serbsin general are more knowledgeable than either Kosovar Albanians or other minority groups, and Kosovar Serbs in the North are most knowledgeable. However, a plurality of all ethnic groups, and nearly 7 in 10 respondents in the North, incorrectly believes that the Agreement establishes special security forces in the North. Groups that believe this are more likely to think that the Agreement will not increase security in the North, and vice versa the presence of new security forces is not linked with greater security. All groups show lower levels and less consistent knowledge of the competencies of the Association of Serb Municipalities (the Association), and significant numbers of respondents. /IBNA/