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Which direction of integration Ukraine should choose: the European Union, the Customs Union or not joining any of the unions

Tetiana Petrenko

In a period of September 16-26 of 2016, Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) has conducted an all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. Data were collected from 2040 respondents living in 110 settlements (PSU) in all regions of Ukraine (except for AR of Crimea) with the method of personal interviewing. The sample was stochastic and is representative of the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

In Luhansk in Donetsk oblasts (regions) survey was conducted only in the territories that are controlled by the Ukrainian government. The survey was not conducted in AR of Crimea.

The statistical sample error (with a probability of 0.95 and the design–effect of 1.5) does not exceed:

3.3% for indicators close to 50%,

2.8% – for indicators close to 25%,

2.0% – for indicators close to 10%,

1.4% – for indicators close to 5%,

0.7% - for indicators close to 1 or 99%.


 

According to a poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology in September 2016, about half of the population of Ukraine (46%) consider Ukraine's accession to the EU to be the necessary direction of integration, while 13% of the residents support the accession to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. However, almost a third of the population (30%) is set against the EU and against the Customs Union and considers that Ukraine should take an independent way without joining any of these unions.

* Before September 2015, the question was formulated as follows: “Which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take? – Joining the European Union, joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, or joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union”.

** For September 2013 and the time before it, data are presented for Ukraine with AR of Crimea. Surveys have not been conducted in Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea. In September and December of 2015 in Luhansk region surveys were conducted only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine. In February 2016 survey was conducted in Luhansk region only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine, in Donetsk region – mostly only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine. In September 2016 in Luhansk region surveys were conducted only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine.

Data in the dynamics without data for the population of AR of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

 

As to the regional distribution, in September 2016 pro-European sentiments prevail in the West and the Centre of the country: a course of joining the European Union is supported by 72% of residents of the Western regions and by 46% of the residents of the Central region. Almost a third (29%) of the population of the Central region selects independent course for Ukraine, that is without joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union. Only 4% of the inhabitants of the western oblasts and 8% of the population of the Central region support the accession to the Customs Union. In the East and the South of the country, most of the population (43% and 40% respectively) would prefer Ukraine to remain neutral, without joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union. The course of European integration supports 28% of the population in the South region and 23% of the residents of the Eastern region, while a pro-Russian course is supported by 28% in the East and 22% in the South.

 

Western macroregion:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts (regions); Central macroregion: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South macroregion : Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern macroregion:  Kharkivska, Donetska and Luhanska oblasts (only regions that are controlled by Ukraine).

 

Commentary by Volodymyr Panioto, CEO of KIIS:

The changes that are taking place in Ukraine after the annexation of the Crimea and the beginning of the war in Donbas, may be associated with a change in the views of the population of Ukraine, and with the change of the territories in which social scientists can conduct surveys (these changes are reflected in the graph 1 and table 1). So that to see what is going on exactly "in the heads" of people, what changes occur  in the opinion of the population (and not because of the territorial changes), we examined the dynamics of the foreign policy orientation from February 2013 to September 2016 only in the areas that have not changed - in all regions of Ukraine except for Crimea and Donbas (graph 2 and table 2 in the addition). As you can see, the dynamics of change is the same, what means that an increase of pro-European sentiment is happening not only because we do not consider the opinion of residents of the occupied Crimea and Donbas but because changes took place "in the heads" of people.

Data on the possible outcomes of a referendum on joining the EU was published by KIIS previously at http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=650&page=1, they show what would be a result of the support for the EU, if ballots had only a question about the EU with only two response options - "for" and "against."


 

ADDITION. Questions in the questionnaire and the table

Table 1. «In your opinion, which direction of the foreign policy should Ukraine take», %, February 2013 – September 2016*

  Feb.2013 Sep.2013** Feb.2015 Sep.2015 Dec.2015 Sep.2016
Joining the European Union 36.6 41.3 47.2 44.1 52.0 45.7
Joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 37.5 35.3 12.3 17.3 14.6 12.9
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 10.7 9.2 27.3 27.5 21.3 30.3
Difficult to say 15.2 14.1 13.1 11.1 12.0 11.1
TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

* Before September 2015, the question was formulated as follows: “Which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take? – Joining the European Union, joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, or joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union”. Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

** For September 2013 and the time  before it, data are presented for Ukraine with AR of Crimea. Surveys have not been conducted in Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea. In September and December of 2015 in Luhansk region surveys were conducted only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine. In February 2016 survey was conducted in Luhansk region only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine, in Donetsk region – mostly only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine. In September 2016 in Luhansk region surveys were conducted only in the territories that are controlled by Ukraine.

 

Table 2. «In your opinion, which direction of the foreign policy should Ukraine take», %, data for Ukraine without including AR of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, February 2013 – September 2016.

  Feb.2013 Sep.2013 Feb.2015 Sep.2015 Dec.2015 Sep.2016
Joining the European Union 42.5 46.9 52.7 48.6 58.0 48.2
Joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 30.6 29.0 8.6 13.4 9.3 11.8
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 11.7 9.0 26.3 27.0 20.5 28.9
Difficult to say 15.2 15.2 12.4 10.9 12.2 11.2
TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

 

Table 3. «In your opinion, which direction of the foreign policy should Ukraine take», by macro-regions, September 2016.

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE IN GENERAL
Joining the European Union 72.1 46.5 28.4 22.6 45.7
Joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 4.2 7.9 21.5 27.8 12.9
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 16.0 29.5 39.9 43.2 30.3
Difficult to say 7.8 16.2 10.2 6.4 11.1
TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Westernregion: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Centralregion: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; Southregion: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Easternregion: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

For the comments contact please Tatyana Petrenko: tpetrenko@kiis.com.ua

7.11.2016
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