Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) – One third of Czechs consider membership of NATO more important than of the EU, according to a poll conducted in September and released yesterday by STEM that said the attitude to the EU has been worsening, probably also due to the refugee redistribution quotas.
According to the September poll, 69 percent of Czechs approve of NATO membership. Roughly a half of the polled consider NATO membership equally important as EU membership.
However, the number of people considering NATO membership more important has been rising in the past years.
After the Czech Republic´s NATO entry in 1999, it was 13 percent, in 2000, 13 percent, but since then the share has gradually raised to the current 34 percent.
The Czech Republic entered the EU in 2004.
On the contrary, the number of Czechs who consider EU membership more important has been decreasing, while the biggest drop was registered in the past few years.
In 2011, it still stood at 27 percent, this year it has been 16 percent.
STEM said in October three fifths of Czechs are not satisfied with EU membership and that they would vote against it if a referendum on the entry were held now.
A referendum on the withdrawal from the EU over the quotas has been demanded by the marginal opposition Dawn movement.
“The fears of Czech citizens of refugees are undoubtedly adversely influenced by the EU wanting its member states to solve the refugee crisis based on solidarity,” STEM said.
The government does not support the proposed referendum.
“The Czech Republic´s membership of the European Union is one of the fundamental principles of Czech foreign policy and it is fully in harmony with the interests of the Czech Republic,” the government said in its preliminary stance.
STEM conducted the poll on 925 inhabitants older than 18 years between September 18 to 28.