Slovakia: A Pro-European Island in Central Europe?

With the European Union facing the pressure of growing populism, countries in Central Europe have been experiencing dynamic political developments strongly affected by these trends. Slovakia, however, has so far managed to act as one of the most pro-European countries in the region. This position might be difficult to sustain in the future given that its neighbours, both to the North and South, have been adopting more critical and populist approaches towards the EU. Especially as regional cooperation, mostly in the format of the Visegrad Four, is often regarded as one of the few mechanisms for making its voice heard in Brussels.

This report portrays the results of an opinion poll conducted in November 2017 and shows that Slovak citizens generally copy the pro-European rhetoric and recognise and appreciate the benefits of EU membership. Almost 70% of Slovaks believe that the membership has helped Slovakia grow and become a magnet to attract businesses, and around 60% say that it has strengthened Slovakia’s economic welfare, security and political weight.

On the other hand, Slovak society seems to draw a line between EU and national politics. More than 75% agree that the EU is used as a scapegoat to detract from the government’s own shortcomings, while the same proportion also recognises the wide gap between the so-called “political elite” and “ordinary citizens”, which can easily create a fertile ground for populists.

What are Slovaks’ attitudes towards the EU and how do they perceive key democratic values and principles?

Read more in this report.