May 23. 2024. 8:34

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In Czechia, security, independence take centre stage ahead of EU elections


Czechs are particularly concerned about security and industrial independence, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey, which reveals a divergence between voters’ concerns in Czechia and the rest of the European Union.

The survey reveals a strong emphasis among Czechs on EU defence and security, with 45% rating it as the most important issue in the EU election campaign, well above the EU average of 31%.

In addition, 40% of Czech respondents consider the EU’s independence in the industrial and energy sectors to be crucial, compared to an EU average of 17%.

Instead of security and independence, other Europeans most often mentioned the fight against poverty, public health, and jobs as priorities to be discussed during EU election campaigns.

Czech opinion is influenced by the ongoing war in Ukraine, which is reflected in security concerns and the energy sector, as the country was heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuel imports for many years.

Priorities continue to diverge as 35% of Czechs see the future of Europe as a critical issue in the EU elections, compared to a 26% average bloc-wide. Migration also remains an important issue for 33% of Czech voters.

In stark contrast to other EU countries, only a tiny fraction of Czechs consider humanitarian aid and climate change action to be essential, well below the EU average.

Czech political parties are aware of the citizens’ concerns, as curtailing the Green Deal and ensuring security or peace are among the top campaign issues for the leading political parties.

Czech scepticism towards the EU Parliament also stands out. Despite the institution’s growing popularity across the EU, only 28% of Czechs have a positive view of it, with a significant number remaining neutral (42%) or negative (29%). This scepticism is reflected in their relatively low interest in the European elections, with only 38% expressing interest, compared to 60% for the EU.

However, there is a silver lining regarding voter turnout, with 58% of Czechs saying they would be likely to vote if elections were held the following week. This figure represents a significant increase from the 2019 elections when the turnout was only 28.7%.

(Aneta Zachová, Barbora Pištorová | Euractiv.cz)

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