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68% of Ukrainians want pro-European reforms even without EU membership prospects

Ukraine Euromaidan European Union flag
The Euromaidan protests of 2014 featured demands for Ukraine’s EU integration
68% of Ukrainians want pro-European reforms even without EU membership prospects

The majority of Ukrainians (52%) think Ukraine should become an EU member, reveals a survey conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in August 2018.

What are the alternatives? The share of those thinking that Ukraine should rather join the Eurasian Economic Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan is nearly five times lower (11%). However, 33% think that Ukraine should join neither of these unions, and 34% don’t think that Ukraine should become a member of the EU.
Pro-EU sentiment runs stronger in the western (75%) and central (58%) oblasts of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the majority of the residents of the south (58%) and east (57%) don’t support EU-membership aspirations. The non-alignment policy is also more popular in the eastern (54%) and southern (48%) provinces.

The respondents expect that Ukraine’s main benefits from EU membership would potentially be: elevated living standards, assistance in the fight against corruption, and freedom of movement.

26% of the survey participants don’t believe that Ukraine’s EU membership will yield any benefits for Ukraine. Among the key drawbacks mentioned are an expected emigration of Ukrainians, an inflow of foreigners and migrants, and fears of “selling out the country.”

Corruption, insufficient economic development of the country, and low living standards of the population are on the top of the list of the main obstacles on Ukraine’s way to the EU membership, according to the respondents.

Also, the vast majority (68%) believe that Ukraine should continue pro-European reforms even if EU states block Ukraine’s membership prospects.

Among the main drivers of the EU integration in the country, Ukrainians named the President (45%) and the Government (28%), while the oligarchs are believed to bear most responsibility for slowing down the integration processes, according to 21% of the respondents. Other drags on eurointegration are: bureaucracy and officials (18%) and Russia (16%).

The share of Ukrainians considering themselves European is gradually rising (44% as compared to 40% in October 2017). However, 48% don’t associate themselves with Europe at present.

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