Belgrade Institute for European Affairs' latest public opinion poll on relations between Serbia and NATO show a record low average grade of cooperation and an increasing number of respondents who oppose Serbia's membership in the Alliance, an Institute's press release has said on Thursday.
Its seventh annual opinion poll was conducted this year from March 4 to 14 on a representative sample of 1,228 respondents.
The average assessment of the relations between Serbia and NATO on a scale from one to five is two, which is below the average.
The press release has added that this was the lowest average assessment of the relations between Serbia and the Alliance in the past seven years.
Ten percent of citizens support Serbia’s membership in NATO, while 82 percent are against, mainly oldest men, with secondary education, from all regions, except the northern province of Vojvodina.
The results show that eight percent are undecided.
As for the reasons for the NATO bombing in 1999, most citizens cite the US and the West’s military and political interests, the support of Kosovo’s independence, the policies of then-head of state Slobodan Milosevic and the destruction of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The majority of respondents believe that more than 5,000 people died in the NATO bombing – 36 percent, and a similar number of respondents say more than 2,000 people were killed.
Five per cent of the respondents said that 754 people were killed, while 24 percent could not declare themselves.
A third of the polled would accept the Alliance’s apology for the bombing, while 57 percent would not, and 14 percent were undecided.
The apology would be more accepted by men over the age of 45, highly educated and respondents from suburban settlements.
Sixty-three percent of the polled believe that Serbia cannot benefit from NATO membership, while 18percent think that benefits are possible, similarly to previous surveys.
Regarding the support of cooperation between Serbia and the Alliance, 61 percent of respondents are against, while 27 percent favor, and 13 percent are undecided.
Almost half of the respondents, 44 percent, believe that even after 23 years since the bombing, it is still not time for reconciliation, while 37 percent favour reconciliation and 20 percent do not have a clear position.
Reconciliation is supported by a slightly higher percentage of men over the age of 45 and respondents with the lowest and highest level of education from urban areas.
Institute for European Affairs (former Youth Education Committee) is an independent, non-governmental, non-partisan organisation founded in 2010 by a group of young professionals, like-minded people with an idea and a vision of Serbia as a full, active and equal member of the Euro-Atlantic family, its website says.