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Poll: Energy security more important for V4 than migration

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Prague, Nov 11 (CTK) – Energy security, illegal migration and instability of states bordering on the EU will dominate the foreign policy of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, including the Czech Republic, in the next five years, a poll conducted among officials and experts in the four countries has shown.

The poll was conducted by the Association for International Affairs (AMO), a Czech NGO.

The V4 also includes Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Most of the respondents, including politicians and foreign political scientists, agreed that their respective countries should send the military to fight Islamic State (IS).

Eighty-six percent of the respondents said energy security is important for foreign policy in the five years to come, and 72 percent said the same about illegal migration.

“Energy security is linked to the instability of Ukraine and unpredictability of Russia,” Ondrej Benesik (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), head of the Czech lower house committee for European affairs, said in reaction to the poll results.

“The area in which the Czech Republic markedly differs from the rest of the V4 are human rights, which were assessed as a foreign political priority in the next five years by 27 percent of the [Czech] respondents,” AMO director Vit Dostal said.

The share of respondents with this view was the lowest in Hungary – 10 percent.

Asked what their respective countries should do against IS, 80 percent of the respondents said humanitarian aid should be sent to the afflicted regions.

A total of 50 percent of respondents spoke in favour of refugee acceptance. This position is mainly espoused by the Polish respondents (70 percent), while its support in Slovakia is the lowest of all (38 percent).

In the Czech Republic, approximately one in two respondents supported the acceptance of refugees.

Only 35 percent of Czech respondents were for a closer cooperation between the West and Russia in fighting IS, compared with 68 percent in Hungary.

In all V4 countries, the poll showed that Germany is the V4´s most important partner, followed by the USA.

The Slovaks consider the Czech Republic their second most important partner, while the Czech respondents named Slovakia as the fourth most important.

Compared with a similar poll from 2011, the fresh one shows a better assessment of the V4´s relation to Ukraine and China. The assessment of the relations with Russia has worsened and they were labelled as the worst by all except for the Hungarian respondents.


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