June 16. 2024. 9:19

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Slovaks believe Ukrainian refugees are making the country worse

Resentment towards Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia is the highest in the EU as 44% of Slovaks believe Ukrainians are making the country a worse place, the new Eurobarometer shows.

“Slovakia is definitely not one of the countries that would be particularly open to diversity,” sociologist Michal Vašečka, director of the Bratislava Policy Institute (BPI), said about the survey.

“These numbers are even more surprising because Ukrainians also fared quite badly compared to the other groups mentioned,” he added.

It is unclear whether the resentment results from the direct experience Slovaks have with Ukrainians or whether it comes from the images of “the Ukrainian mafia, of a corrupt state” that have fed into how Ukrainians have been perceived over the past 30 years.

“This is how one part of the political elite still informs about them today. And it is more successful than we would expect,” according to the sociologist.

The survey also points to 56.6% of those surveyed believing that Ukrainian refugees are weakening the Slovak economy, contradicting the Institute of Financial Policies’ latest labour market analysis which says Ukrainians actually make up for labour shortages experienced in short-staffed sectors such as healthcare and hospitality.

“Foreign workers in Slovakia, especially those from Ukraine, have contributed significantly to employment growth in the last year,” the analysis also says.

The survey also reveals a deeper problem Slovaks have with foreigners, as 42% of the respondents said foreigners disturb Slovak culture.

While Slovaks resent immigrants from Africa and the Middle East the most, they also seem to prefer immigrants from Russia to those from Ukraine as only 38% of people surveyed said Russians are making the country worse.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)