Croatians Seen Supporting EU Membership in Jan. 22 Referendum

Croatians probably will support next year’s planned European Union entry as the new government campaigns to persuade voters to back the plan, polling company IPSOS-Puls said.

Sixty-percent of those likely to take part in the Jan. 22 referendum said they would back membership in a December survey, compared with 61 percent in November, IPSO-Puls researcher Mirna Cvitan said today in Zagreb. About 82 percent of respondents said they would participate. Overall, support for EU entry slipped to 51 percent from 54 percent in the previous month.

Croatia plans to be the second former Yugoslav nation to join the Brussels-based union after neighboring Slovenia to help it attract investment and bring an economy still bordering on recession closer to western Europe. Opponents argue entry would weaken Croatian’s national interests at a time when the EU is struggling with the effect of its own debt crisis.

“The results remain favorable for EU entry, especially as supporters of the entry seem to be more motivated to vote at the referendum,” said Cvitan. “But we cannot with certainty say that Croats will vote to join the bloc.

The strongest overall support was recorded in June 2003, when 82 percent said they favored the EU, Cvitan said. In 2011, the highest support was recorded in November at 54 percent, and the lowest in March, at 45 percent.

Croatia accession also needs to be ratified by the parliaments of all 27 current member states.

The survey of 950 people of voting age was carried out from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percent. The next IPSOS-Puls poll on the referendum is expected in the week beginning Jan. 15, Cvitan said.

To contact the reporter responsible for the story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at

To contact the editor responsible for the story: James M. Gomez at

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