Eurobarometer public opinion survey is organised by the European Commission for many years and the results and analysis are regularly published and available on the Commission web site. Great publicity is given especially to Standard Eurobarometer, which is undertaken twice a year with a National Reports in national languages. However, most of the analysis focus on the current state of the public opinion and usually comparison with the previous survey, which is in the case of Standard Eurobarometer half year old. This report focuses on a few fundamental questions asked in the Standard Eurobarometer survey.
However, data are analysed in a long term period perspective. When data available, the study is focused on the period from the enlargement of the EU in 2004, when Slovak Republic joined the European Union, until the last available Eurobarometer No. 81 undertaken in the spring 2014.
One of the point of the study is, that some of the questions, that appeared in the Eurobarometer survey, disappeared after some period of time. And some of them are those, which are showing decrease of satisfaction of the European citizens (or citizens of the core countries).
Since spring 2004 until autumn 2009 number of Slovaks who believe that Slovakia’s membership of the European Union is a good thing has increased significantly from 46% to 68%. In the same time the opinion of European Citizens increased only slightly. In spring 2004 48% of European citizens believed their country’s membership of the European Union is a good thing, in the spring 2010 it was 53%. However, within next 6 months in the spring 2010 the positive attitude of Slovak citizens has decreased sharply to 59% (in EU average slightly to 49%). This question has been left out from the Eurobarometer survey since autumn 2010, thus we do not know what was the development of the attitudes of Slovak citizens in the following years.
Also the number of Slovaks, who believed, that their country has on balance benefited from being a member of the European Union, has increased since Slovakia joined the EU. In the autumn 2009 62% of Slovaks believed their country has benefited (53% in EU average), in the autumn 2009 it was 80% of Slovak citizens. In EU average in the autumn 2009 57% of EU citizens believed their country has benefited from being EU member. In the spring 2011 the number of Slovaks who believed their country benefited from being EU member has decreased to 72% (still well above the 2004 level). In EU average this was 52%, thus almost at the same level as in 2004. This question was also left out the Eurobarometer questionnaire since the autumn 2011.
However, the number of Slovaks who believed, that in general, things are going in the right direction in the European Union has decreased . In the spring 2004 42% of Slovaks believed things are going in the right direction the EU. In the EU average 39% of European citizens believed to this. In the spring 2014 only 26% of Slovak citizens and 25% of EU citizens believed things are going in the right direction in the European Union.
Also, the distrust towards the EU has increased in Slovakia, since the country joined the union. In the autumn 2004 only 24% of Slovak respondents were saying that they tend not to trust to the European Union (in the European average it was 36% of citizens). In the spring 2014 57% of Slovak respondents did not trust to the EU (56% in the EU average).
Although the number of Slovak citizens satisfied with the way democracy works in their country has more than doubled, from 18% in the spring 2004 to 41% in the spring 2014, satisfaction with the way democracy works in the EU stayed approximately at the same level (43% in the spring 2014, 41% in the spring 2014).
The number of Slovak citizens, who does not agree with the assertion, that the interests of their country are well taken into account in the European Union has also increased. In the spring 2005 54% of Slovak respondents did tend to disagree with that statement (47% in the EU average), and although since spring 2008 until autumn 2010 their number decreased below 50% in the autumn 2013 58% of Slovak respondents disagreed with the statement (53% in the EU average).
On the other hand, Slovaks trust to the Euro and believe in its positive impact well above the EU and Eurozone average. In the spring 2009 66% of Slovak respondents did agree with the statement: Overall the Euro has mitigated the negative effects of the current financial and economic crisis. In the EU average only 39% of respondents did agree with the statement. In the spring 2011 63% of Slovak respondents did agree with the statement: Overall the Euro has cushioned the effects of the economic crisis. In the EU average it was only 37% of respondents.
In the spring 2009 only 16% of Slovak respondents did agree with the statement: Our country would have been better protected in the face of the current financial and economic crisis if we had kept the national currency. In the Eurozone average 45% of respondents expressed such an opinion. In the spring 2010 number of Slovak respondents agreeing with the statement has increased to 29%, which was still well below the 47% of the Eurozone average.
Thus, during 10 years of Slovakia’s membership in the European Union, the citizens has changed their views from predominantly europtimistic to rather eurorealistic.
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