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Czechs want more EU

Are the Czechs the biggest sceptics in the EU? A closer look at the latest Eurobarometer survey indicates that it is not necessarily true.

Autor fotografie: Respekt/David Munich • Autor: Respekt
Autor fotografie: Respekt/David Munich • Autor: Respekt

Are the Czechs the biggest sceptics in the EU, as the newspaper headlines announced last Friday? A closer look at the latest Eurobarometer survey indicates that it is not necessarily true.

The European statisticians produced on Thursday, 12 July the latest data and the Czech News Agency, which attended the presentation of the information, published an article headlined „Feelings about the EU got colder, 46% of Czechs consider membership a good thing.“ The story was picked up by other journalists and most of them misinterpreted it, saying Czechs reject the EU but not giving any background.

The Eurobarometer survey did show that the EU enjoys popularity among 46% of Czechs, the lowest figure among member states. But the survey also included figures that the media did not pay much attention to, and which put the situation in a different light. For example, 61% of Czechs think that the country has gained from EU accession ― logical if one looks at the economic indicators, for instance the record foreign-trade surplus. Is it possible to both reject membership and appreciate its benefits?

„There is no discrepancy in the data,“ says Ivan Gabal, who worked on the survey in the Czech Republic. „Czechs do not reject the EU; on the contrary, they are sending a message to the politicians that they want more EU integration.“ According to Gabal, the EU's low popularity is related to the fact…

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