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Survey: Young Czechs least optimistic about EU in V4 group

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Bratislava, Jan 31 (CTK) – Young Czechs have a less positive attitude towards the European Union than their Hungarian, Polish and Slovak peers and young Slovaks perceive NATO more negatively than their peers from the Visegrad Four (V4), according to a survey by the Bratislava-based Globsec institute issued on Wednesday.

In all the four Central European countries, however, more young people support the EU and NATO membership of their country than oppose it and they agree that there is no alternative to these organisations, the authors of the survey concluded.

The EU is perceived positively by 43.8 percent of Czechs aged 18-24 and 41.3 percent of Czechs aged 25-34. The opposite view is held by 20.6 percent and 24.4 percent of the respondents from the above age groups, respectively.

Young Poles and Hungarians show the highest support for the EU and NATO. Young Slovaks support the EU but they view NATO less favourably, while young Czechs like NATO more than the EU.

Three fourths of young Poles said the EU is a good thing and four fifths of them said NATO is a good thing.

Among Slovaks aged 18-24, 49.2 percent consider the EU good and 10.8 percent bad. Among those aged 25-34, 54.6 percent perceive the EU positively and 12.1 percent negatively. Nearly half of young Slovaks did not know whether NATO is a good or bad thing. Among those who had a clear opinion on NATO, two out of three said it is a good thing.

In the Czech Republic, young people are the part of the population that is the most optimistic about the EU and NATO, while in Slovakia the most pro-Western are people in the late 30s and early 40s, and in Hungary and Poland the highest support for the EU and NATO is expressed by the older generation (over 55), the survey showed.

If a referendum on their country’s EU membership were held, a prevailing majority of young Poles and Hungarians, a majority of young Slovaks and nearly half of young Czechs would want to stay in the EU. One out of four young Czechs, five young Poles, seven young Slovaks and eight young Hungarians would like to leave the EU. However, more than one in four young Czechs and Slovaks do not have a clear stance or they would not attend the referendum, while only a very small part of their Polish and Hungarian counterparts do not know or would not take part in the vote.

Nearly all young Poles share the view that NATO is important for the security of their country. A vast majority of young Czechs and Hungarians and a majority of young Slovaks believe this, too. About 30 percent of young people in Slovakia disagree with this.

In all the V4 countries, the young generation clearly prefers liberal democracy to autocracy

The survey follows a Globsec study focusing on seven Central and South-East European countries that was issued one year ago and concluded that the highest level of Euroscepticism can be seen in the Czech Republic.

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