2018 Fall Semester Survey among University Students: Will 2019 address an increasing pessimism?

The close of 2018 pushed the opinions of university students towards more pessimism and less confidence in international affairs. This is what the results of the Fall Semester Survey (1780 respondents) are showing.

Relative majority of students (42%) believe that the upcoming May 2019 EU elections will fragment and weaken the European Union. Less than a majority of students (48%) believe that most of the countries of the Western Balkans and the EU’s East will join the EU (April 2018: 55%).  Only is Slovakia, the students are more confident about future membership of other countries- 53% of them are believers in the EU expansion.

Students were realistic in their expectations about brexit prior to the vote by the UK Parliament – only 42% of them opined that a comprehensive brexit agreeement between the EU and the UK will be concluded and approved.

Domestically, 74% of students are rather dissatisfied or not satified at all with the political situation in their country.  However, an overwhelming 61% of students want to live under democracy with its institutions. 24% of respondents would run for an elected position as a candidate (20% in April 2018 Survey).

The students believe that for the EU and NATO, China is rather a national security threat or an opponent (61%).  39% perceive China as a reliable partner. At the same time, majority of students are of the opinion that in the political and economic development of their country, China plays a positive role (57%).

In accordance with the students, they feel a substantially increased spread of disinformation by Russia in their countries (38% in November 2018 vs 24% in April 2018).

The surveys were undertaken in November 2018 at seven universities located in five countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Moldova (Chisinau), Montenegro (Podgorica), Serbia (Belgrade, Novi Sad), and Slovakia (Bratislava, Banská Bystrica). Surveys are a part of the project of debates among university students implemented jointly by MESA10, Bratislava, Slovakia and CEAS Belgrade, Serbia.

The next debate takes place on 8 April, 2019 and on 9-10 April, 2019, the student teams will present their recommendations on EU Policy to the members of the European Parliament and visit NATO Headquarters in Brusells. 

For more information about the project, go to:  https://www.facebook.com/UniversityDebates/