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Czechs and the EU Brand: How do Czechs feel about the EU and what could change their mind?

The Czech Republic could serve as a kind of laboratory for investigating anti-EU sentiments. Czechs’ perception of the EU membership is the poorest of all the EU citizens, (mere 33 % view it as a good thing). Not even half of the adult Czech population (47 %) would vote to stay in the EU, despite having a booming economy and bearing almost no impact of the migration crisis.

Moreover, the Czech economy is strongly export-oriented and benefits from the EU budget. Thus these negative sentiments seem to be very much about emotions and image.

Czechs’ feelings toward the EU are similar to other Visegrad (V4) countries in many ways, but these similarities are less prominent than one would expect – especially in the case of Slovakia, where attitudes towards NATO and the EU are reversed. In many aspects, Czech Eurosceptics have been more influenced by British and Italian politicians than by their counterparts in Slovakia, Hungary or Poland.

The popularity of the EU in the Czech Republic has been very volatile over the past 15 years. It was even modest at the beginning and the first disillusion came soon after the country’s accession, but was quickly countered by the Czech presidency of EU in 2009.

EU’s image dropped again during the global economic downturn and the Eurozone crisis, which played a relatively strong role in the 2010 national election campaign. The migration crisis worsened negative sentiments even further, despite having little direct effect on the country. The recently observed increase in popularity can be mostly attributed to the country’s economic growth.

This study is mainly based on a series of 12 brief surveys by Behavio research agency and on longitudinal research by STEM Institute for Empirical Research. The expert’s inputs were provided by EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy.

You can read the study here.

ČRo Plus: British and European attitude towards a new trade agreement

Vladimír Bartovic, Director of the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, dealt with questions on the topic of negotiations on the new trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU in the interview for  ČRo Plus 

EU MONITOR: Brexit, now what? Examining the future of Central and Eastern European security post-Brexit

In her latest EU monitor, Danielle Piatkiewicz explores the future of Central and Eastern European security after Brexit.

  • January 31st will begin the long-awaited legal withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. As the UK disengages politically, Europe’s existing security structure will undergo reconstruction as EU Member States reevaluate their future without the UK as active members established security including CSDP, NATO, PESCO, among others.
  • As the UK seeks bilateral partnerships post-Brexit, steadfast security consumers like Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) should gauge how Brexit will affect their security region. With external threats mounting in the East, the CEE region relies heavily on the existing security blanket that Europe and NATO have provided. As one of the strongest European militaries, an engaged or disengaged UK will certainly affect the security environment, but it will be up to how the EU and CEE countries react and adapt, that will impact the future security of their region once Brexit takes effect.

While there is only one project where all V4 members collectively participate in, PESCO remains an opportunity for V4 to work in tandem with other Member States, and potentially closer with the UK. Yet, without Britain’s industrial base, it could be difficult to make future integration projects viable. At the moment, this is not a huge concern for members of V4 as most of their recent military purchases have been with the US and other Member States, but future participation of the UK in PESCO projects and EDF should be politically supported and encouraged by members of the V4.

You can read more here and on the Europeum webpage.