In Czech society, there is still strong concern about rising prices and inflation and further developments in the energy sector, as well as dissatisfaction with the domestic economy. Compared to last year, trust in the European Union and the government decreased. This follows from the results of the pan-European public opinion survey Eurobarometer from January and February this year, which was published by the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.
According to the current survey, 62 percent of the Czech population is concerned about rising prices and inflation, eight percentage points less than last year. The second strongest source of concern is further developments in the energy sector, shared by 32 percent of respondents. “This score of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is the highest in the list of concerns within the entire European Union,” said Magdaléna Frouzová, spokeswoman for the EU representation in Prague.
Only a fifth of the Czech population perceives the national economy positively, 31 percent of the European economy. “After a slight improvement in the perception of the national and European economy after the end of the covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the current answers of those interviewed show a decrease in optimism,” stated Frouzová.
55 percent of respondents in the Czech Republic see the future of the union as optimistic, compared to 59 percent last year. Within the union, the Czech Republic is among the seven most pessimistic countries. Slovakia (51 percent), France (46 percent) and Greece (44 percent) are the most pessimistic. On the contrary, the people of Ireland (84 percent), Denmark (80 percent) and Poland (77 percent) have the most optimistic view of the future.
Czechs most often associate the European Union with freedom, travel and job opportunities, specifically 57 percent of respondents. Peace is associated with the union by 32 percent of respondents and democracy by 27 percent of survey participants. In a negative sense, 30 percent of Czechs associate the European Union with bureaucracy, 24 percent blame it for wasting money and 22 percent for insufficient border control. “Developments in these sub-aspects show that the image of the union in the Czech Republic has been steadily strengthening since 2016, and negative connotations are weakening,” noted Frouzová.
Confidence in the EU and the government has fallen
Czech citizens’ trust in the European Union fell from last year’s 51 percent to 44 percent, and trust in the Czech government saw an even more significant drop, from 45 to 30 percent. The strongest trust is traditionally enjoyed by the army, but it too has deteriorated year-on-year from 86 to 75 percent of trusters, according to Eurobarometer findings.
Just over half of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by the Czech government after the outbreak of Russian aggression. Finns are significantly more satisfied with their government in this respect (88 percent). On the contrary, the most critical are Bulgarians, Slovaks and Greeks, of whom only about a third expressed satisfaction with their government’s actions. In all the countries of the European Union, the population is worried about the economic consequences of the war. In the Czech Republic, it is 86 percent of respondents, which corresponds to the average of the Union.
In the Czech Republic, as in the entire European Union, the provision of humanitarian aid enjoys the greatest support within the framework of the measures taken towards Ukraine. It was appreciated by 87 percent of the Czech population. However, Czech respondents are significantly more lukewarm, for example, in supporting the purchase of military equipment – half of them supported it, while the EU average is 65 percent. “And while 80 percent of respondents in the Czech Republic are in favor of stronger pan-European defense, only 59 percent of respondents are in favor of increased spending in this area,” added Frouzová.
The survey was conducted from January 12 to February 6 in the Czech Republic on a sample of 1,025 respondents over the age of 15.
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