EDB Integration Barometer - 2016

26 October 2016

The report presents the results of the EDB Centre for Integration Studies’ ongoing research project “EDB Integration Barometer”. In 2016, 8,500 people from 7 CIS countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Tajikistan) answered about 20 questions concerning the Eurasian integration and various facets of economic, political, and sociocultural cooperation in the CIS region. The research has been conducted by the EDB Centre for Integration Studies since 2012 annually in partnership with an international research agency “Eurasian Monitor”.

The research results confirmed that the Eurasian economic integration is still supported by people in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states and their neighbouring countries. Overall, the level of support of Eurasian integration exceeds 60%. In Belarus, public support for Eurasian integration increased insignificantly over the year, from 60% to 63%. In other member countries, the population's support for participation in the EAEU declined: from 86% to 81% in the Kyrgyz Republic, from 80% to 74% in Kazakhstan, from 78% to 69% in Russia, and from 56% to 46% in Armenia. Almost in all above countries the decrease was due to an increase in the number of those who were indifferent towards integration, while in Armenia it was also triggered by an increase in the number of negative responses (by 5 percentage points).

In 2016, the respondents in the EAEU member states were asked about their attitudes towards free movements of citizens within the EAEU (including labour migration), the expansion of the EAEU, the entering into a free trade and investment agreement between the EAEU and the EU, the possible introduction of a single currency, and the creation of a common broadcasting company. Over a half of respondents answered positively to almost all questions (excluding the introduction of a single currency, the opinions on which in Armenia and Belarus were different).

This year, we also conducted a special study on the preferences of different income groups: higher-income citizens are more positive towards the EAEU than economically weaker groups. A total of 76% and 74% of high-income respondents in Kazakhstan and Belarus respectively support the Union, compared to 65% and 57% respectively among low-income groups. Low-income respondents state they feel indifferent or negative towards the EAEU relatively more often. This does not relate to Russia where the groups with different levels of income demonstrate practically no differences in their opinions (not less than 64% of respondents in both income groups support the Union). More information is available in the full version of the report.

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