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Czech confidence in the government has fallen year-on-year, and is now the lowest in the European Union, according to the Eurobarometer 2021 survey. Last spring, 40% of respondents declared confidence in the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, but it has since dropped to 19%. Photo Credit: Vlada.cz.

Czech Rep., May 4 (BD) – Confidence in the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has dropped by over half since last year, and is now at just 19%, the lowest in the EU. This is according to the Eurobarometer Report, an annual sociological survey conducted in every European Union country, which was published yesterday by the European Commission in the Czech Republic 

Fieldwork for the report was conducted on February 17th-22nd, 2021, on a representative sample of the Czech population of 1,100 people older than 15 years. Topics covered by the report include the economic prosperity of the Czech Republic and the EU, perception of the media, the health measures applied in the country, and attitudes towards the EU.

According to the survey, the share of the Czech population who trust their government fell from 40% to 19% in the last year. Confidence in the Czech Parliament also fell, dropping 10 percentage points to 15%. These results are the lowest in the whole EU, where the averages are 36% and 33%, respectively.

Line graph: Development in the percentage of those showing trust in the selected institutions. Credit: Eurobarometer 94 – Public Opinion in the European Union.

“While in recent years, trust in the national institutions of the Czech Republic has been at the European average, at present it is clear that we currently trust the government and parliament less than the average”, the survey states.

On the other hand, confidence in EU institutions is at its highest in the Czech Republic since 2013. After increasing slightly from 2019 to 2020, to 39%, it has jumped to 48% this year. Those reporting a positive perception of the EU also increased significantly. In 2019, answering the question “How does the EU affect you?”, only 31% gave a positive answer, the lowest in the EU and 11 pp less than the EU average. Now however, 49% of Czechs have a positive impression of the EU, above the overall EU average of 46%.

Distrust in the Czech government is also reflected in perceptions of the level of democracy in the Czech Republic. While in the previous survey, 66% of Czechs were satisfied with the functioning of democracy in the Czech Republic, this figure is now 45%. The average satisfaction with the functioning of national democracy across all EU countries is 55%.

The confidence of the Czech population in the economy has also decreased significantly. For the last two years the Czech Republic was among the most optimistic countries in the EU on economic matters; last year 70% of respondents assessed the national economic situation as positive. However, it is now one of the biggest skeptics, with only 30% of respondents seeing the situation positively. However, a total of 86% of Czech citizens still rate the financial situation of their household as quite good or very good, compared to an EU average of 68%.

Healthcare is perceived by the majority as the current main problem in the Czech Republic, and confidence in health professionals has risen to 92% during the fight against the pandemic. This is among the highest in the EU, against an average of 80%, with the highest in the Netherlands (97%) and Denmark (96%), and the lowest in Romania (53%).

“Currently, Czechs describe the area of ​​health and social care, the state debt, and the general economic situation as the Czech Republic’s biggest problems,” said the survey. “Since 2014, health and social care have been perceived as a rather marginal problem (mentioned by around 15% of the population), but in the last survey, it took first place (52%). The situation is similar with the perception of the state debt and the economic situation.”

The measures introduced by public authorities in the fight against coronavirus are considered by 68% of Czech citizens to be justified, less than the EU average (73%) and about 20 pp less than in countries such as Sweden, Ireland, or Finland. The biggest opposition to the measures comes from middle-aged people, business owners, and the unemployed. However, only around a quarter of people said that they are satisfied with the way the government has introduced the measures. The vast majority of respondents said that the rapid provision of vaccines is key to stopping the pandemic.

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