Looking for the cause of Czech euroscepticism? Go back to school

Our Adi Muhovic explores, in his latest blog following the results of the parliamentary elections, the cause(s) of Czech euroscepticism.

  • The Czechs have elected their new House of Deputies. One party arose from that election as the clear, undisputed victor: ANO, a self-declared pro-European party, member of ALDE—European Liberal Democrats led by the well-known federalist, Guy Verhofstadt.
  • The self-declaration of being pro-European is crucial, since the movement, although a supporter of Czech Republic’s staying in the Union, declared that it was opposed to the adoption of the common currency, opposed to the refugee reallocation mechanism, and opposed to other measures that are unpopular with the public—all of which are contrary to ALDE’s vision of the role of the Union.
  • Since its inception, ANO has confounded the public with its ambivalence on certain topics, and the recent election has not changed that.

No matter what comparison one makes—with the EU average, or even with the region (V4+Austria)—the Czechs score low when it comes to pro-EU sentiments. Whereas 42% of Europeans trust the EU, only 30% of the Czechs feel the same way (a figure that is low even by regional standards, which are in the 42-46% range).

Arguably, the educational system and the media are partly to blame. The Czech Republic’s educational system emphasizes the notion of a “victimised nation” and fails to sufficiently educate the students about the EU. These flaws provide fertile ground for sensationalist populism that the media use to make profit, thus forsaking their traditional role in the development of a democratic culture in a society.

The media, usually an important pillar of informing the public, further aggravate the situation. Apart from a few serious institutions, who actually send correspondents to Brussels, most media outlets only report about the EU when there is some crisis or failure (or when ‘evil Brussels’ prohibits French fries).

You can read the whole blog on EurActiv.eu.

#euroscepticism #Czech politics #parliamentary elections #educational system

Adi Muhovic
Project Assistant

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy
Staroměstské náměstí 4/1
Prague 1 - Staré Město
110 00

tel.: +420 212 246 552
email: europeum@europeum.org