EU Membership and the Public Opinion in Bulgaria in 2014

The majority of 62,4% Bulgarians assess positively EU membership. But there is a decrease of 6% in positive views compared to 2013 and the negative assessments rise to 23,2% according to a new EuPI policy brief on attitudes of Bulgarians toward EU membership, based on an opinion poll of OSI-Sofia. Similarly, support to EU membership remains high at 62,5%, but there is a decrease of nearly 7% in comparison to 2013; Those who would not support EU membership increase slightly to 20%.

An exit from the EU is not a winning political strategy as only 14,9% would vote for such a party and 65,7% would not vote for it. But there is also a trend towards support to such euro-skeptic platforms with 3,5% increase in comparison to 2013.

Bulgarians still trust EU institutions more than their national institutions with 37,8% versus 14,4%. However, there is a decrease as in the share of those who trust equally both the EU and Bulgarian institutions as well as those who trust neither the EU nor the national institutions.

  • The observations in terms of political affiliation of respondents show interesting and sometimes surprising results among both the ruling and opposition parties:
    The socialist BSP, which was on power in the past year, have a sizable share of supporters who do not approve of the EU experience so far (23%) and would vote for exiting the union (21,7%), but it should be noted those in support of the EU within the party remain a majority.
  • As a whole, there is a change among BSP supporters, especially visible in regard to trust to the institutions of the EU and the Bulgarian ones; While they continue to trust national institutions more, the distrusts in both the EU and national institutions has grown;
  • There is a change among supporters of MRF, which was also in the government in 2013-2014; While they were probably the mostly staunch supporters of the EU, the 2014 results show the positive assessments of EU membership have decreased sharply exactly when their party was on power.
     The opposition center-right supporters of GERB and the Reformist Block remain most pro-EU, despite that there are slight decrease of enthusiasm for EU among GERB, which is the party with largest support.

Download "EU Membership and the Public Opinion in Bulgaria in 2014" by Marin Lessenski, EuPI policy brief, August 2014.

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