PASOS poll: Most Czechs do not think EU membership has brought more benefits than losses
Poles most positive on EU membership among four new EU member states
The percentage of Czechs who say joining the EU has brought more losses than benefits outnumbers those who say EU membership has made things better, according to the results of a public-opinion survey conducted as part of a PASOS project.
The polling showed that 33 percent of Czechs believe that joining the EU has brought their country more losses than benefits. In contrast, about 24 percent said that joining the EU brought their country more benefits than losses. About 35 percent said EU membership has brought the same amount of losses as benefits.
In contrast, the Poles held the most positive views on having joined the union: 43 percent said EU membership has brought their country more benefits than losses, and only 10 percent said the opposite.
The polling in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland was conducted as part of “Enlargement and Citizenship: Looking to the Future,” a project to gauge the level of citizen engagement in the EU policymaking process in EU new-member states.
PASOS commissioned the polling in the Czech Republic, and three members of the network oversaw polls in their respective countries: the European Institute (Bulgaria); the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (Latvia); and the Institute of Public Affairs (Poland).
Czech pessimism about the effect EU membership has had on their country extended across four related questions in the survey. The other questions were posed as follows:
In your opinion, what has integration with the EU meant for
- democracy in the Czech Republic?
- the quality of life in the Czech Republic?
- the quality of public services in the Czech Republic?
- the status of the Czech Republic internationally?
In each case, the percentage of Czechs who said EU membership had brought a net loss to the country outnumbered those who said it has brought a net benefit.
“Czechs are disappointed with democracy, regardless of EU membership,” said Jeff Lovitt, executive director of PASOS. “A succession of corruption scandals has undermined trust in Czech politics.”
The polling also measured the opinions of citizens on how well their governments and EU representatives do their jobs.
Latvians took the worst view of their members of the European Parliament: 65 percent said that their MEPs do a poor job of promoting the needs of citizens at the EU level. Sixty-eight percent of Latvians also said that the EU in general rates as bad or very bad with regard to whether the institution takes into the account the interests of their country and national priorities.
Other survey results showed that:
Latvians also took a rather dim view of EU membership. Nearly 34 percent of them said that joining the EU had hurt the quality of life in their country.
Poles hold the best view of the European Parliament: 56 percent rated the performance of institution as “rather good” or “very good.”
Bulgarians are the best informed citizens with regard to understanding how members of the European Parliament are chosen. About 61 percent knew that MEPs are elected in popular elections in their home countries.
The project, which is being supported by the European Commission, has 3 objectives:
1. To educate European citizens and civil society in the processes through which the policies of the EU take form, and in communications strategies for advocating for EU policies, and spreading ownership of EU policymaking among EU citizens
2. To raise awareness among the publics in EU members and prospective member countries around the need for citizens’ engagement to ensure their elected representatives and governments fully engage at the EU level in achieving policy decisions that meet the needs of their citizens.
3. To strengthen citizens’ engagement in the policy process ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2014.
Srovnávací studie nových členských států Stupeň integrace a angažovanosti v rozhodovacích procesech EU (Czech-language version of ‘Comparative study on EU New Member States’ of Integration in EU Decision-Making’)