IRI Western Balkans Poll: Strong Support for EU Membership, Russia’s Attacks on Ukraine Unjustified

Washington, DC – The latest multinational survey of the Western Balkans by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) shows broad support for joining the European Union (EU) and strong majorities who view Russia’s war on Ukraine as unjustified. The countries surveyed were Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. 

When asked if they would support joining the EU if a referendum were held today, strong majorities in five of the six countries would vote to join the alliance, ranging from 68% in North Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina to 92% in Albania. In Serbia, a plurality of 40% support joining the EU.

“There is a strong desire across the Balkans to strengthen Western economic ties and join the EU,” said Paul McCarthy, Director for Europe at IRI. “This broad support demonstrates that people throughout the region believe that further integration with the European Union can help achieve sustained prosperity.”  

The poll also found majorities in five of the six surveyed countries believe Russia’s war on Ukraine is completely or somewhat unjustified. In Serbia, however, a plurality of 49% think that Russia is completely or somewhat justified.

“While these numbers are mostly positive, the Serbian responses are troubling,” said McCarthy. “If peace and security are the long-term objectives in the Balkans, the better option for Serbia is to reject Russian overtures and build stronger ties with the West.”


The survey was conducted on behalf of IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research by Ipsos between February 2 and March 5, 2024. Data was collected through CAPI administered face-to-face interview in respondents’ homes through a multistage probability method designed to yield nationally representative samples in each country. Response rates range from 21% percent to 40%. Sample size by country varies between n=1,036 and n=1,238 and the margin of error ranges from 2.8 to 3.0 points. 

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