EDB Poll: Azerbaijan expresses the lowest support for joining the Customs Union

EDB Poll: Azerbaijan expresses the lowest support for joining the Customs Union

The Centre for Integration Studies of the Eurasian Development Bank has presented the “EDB Integration Barometer – 2014” report. The report has been prepared by Eurasian Development Bank’s Centre for Integration Studies and the Eurasian Monitor International Research Agency. In 2014 over 13,000 people from ten CIS countries and Georgia (between 1,000 and 2,000 people in each country) took part in our annual poll on the topic of integration priorities of population.

The results show that Kazakhstan and Russia demonstrate the highest growth in support their populations express for participation in the Eurasian economic integration. Over the recent year, the support for the Customs Union among the population of Kazakhstan and Russia grew by more than 11%, reached to 84% and 79% respectively. In Belarus, 68% of the population approves participation in the Customs Union.

Among non-Customs Union countries, in 2014 the highest support from the population for joining these two organizations was demonstrated in Tajikistan (72%) and Uzbekistan (68%). The population of Armenia, which is a candidate to joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also expresses higher-than-average support (64%). At the same time, in Uzbekistan the level of support for joining the Customs Union dropped by 9%, and in Tajikistan and Armenia by 3%. In Kyrgyzstan, which intends to join the EEU after Armenia, the level of public support for joining the Customs Union has reduced significantly over the recent year, from 67% to 50%, while negative attitudes have doubled, which is an alarming sign.

An interesting fact is that more than half of the Georgian population (53%) continue to support the possible joining to the Customs Union. However, here also the level of approval decreased by 6% and negative attitudes grew by 7% year-on-year. In Moldova 49% of respondents would prefer joining the Customs Union (down by 6%) and 23% are against this option (up by 7%).

In Ukraine the level of support for joining the Customs Union has decreased from 50% to 31% over the year, while negative attitudes to these prospects have grown from 28% to 50%. In Azerbaijan the trend did not change: the low support for its hypothetical joining the Customs Union continued to decline over the year, from 37% to 22%, and negative attitudes grew from 53% to 64%. This confirms that both these countries become increasingly closed with respect to the Eurasian integration project.

Positive attitudes towards integration with Russia are especially manifest in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, where over two thirds of respondents made this preference. Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Moldova also expressed positive attitudes towards uniting with Russia. For the Russian population the most preferred countries for integration are Belarus and Kazakhstan and only a fourth of the Russian population is positive now about uniting with Ukraine.

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