Czechs trust EU more than their own government

Blahoslav Hruška
28. 1. 2008 19:10
Survey: Citizens of Central Europe embrace the Union
Why do they hate us?
Why do they hate us? | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

Brussels - Useless standards and norms, well-paid posts with zero responsibility and hundred per cent job security. That is the usual picture European public has of EU employees in Brussels and elsewhere. Or is it?

The latest survey, conducted by Eurobarometer in September and November last year and released today, seems to suggest something else.

The EU citizens were found to be much more critical of their national governments, trusting in the EU as a whole far more than they trust their own parliaments and institutions.

The Polish, Bulgarian and Czech governments received the worst evaluation from their citizens. Neither do people living in the Baltic countries, that is Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, hold positive views of their governments and national institutions.

Out of all the respondents it is the Polish who are the most distrustful of their government and parliament (83%), while EU institutions enjoy their trust at solid 62%. 

Trust in European and local institutions
Trust in EU Trust in parliament Trust in government
Czech Rep. 58 16 21
Poland 62 10 17
Hungary 60 21 21
Slovakia 58 37 40
Austria 46 54 53
Germany 39 41 40
Great Britain 25 34 30
France 51 42 40
Responses are in percentage. Source: Eurobarometer

Czechs euro-optimists

Czechs seem to be slightly more optimistic than their Polish neighbours, as they credited their own government with 21% trust, while the EU received 58%. That still makes Czechs more "euro-optimistic" than one might think in a nation whose president made a name for himself by not missing a single opportunity to attack the European integration process.

However, the relative 58% satisfaction with the EU administration does not mean Czechs are absolutely content with the way EU operates. Czechs definitely have a feeling their voice is somewhat overheard in the EU.

Only 26% of Czechs believe the Czech Republic plays a significant role in the EU.

Britons, Germans, Swedes and Finns, on the other hand, gave the EU very low grades.

As it transpires in the survey, Europeans, in general, are not interested in common European security and foreign policy. Only 16% of EU citizens would want Brussels to be the leader on these two fronts.

On the other hand, roughly a third of the EU respondents prefer a common fight with the crime and unified EU policy on environment and immigration.

Culture and education is something where EU citizens want their countries to keep maximum sovereignty.

Eurobarometer is a European Commission agency monitoring general public opinion in the European Union member states. There were 1,016 Czechs participating in the survey.



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