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Surveys say Slovaks trust the European Parliament but may not vote in June

Although the latest Eurobarometer survey showed that as many as 70 percent of Slovaks trust the European Parliament (EP), results of a survey called ISSP Slovensko 2008 revealed that only 33.5 percent of people find the upcoming EP election important, while 26.5 percent find it unimportant, the TASR newswire reports.

Although the latest Eurobarometer survey showed that as many as 70 percent of Slovaks trust the European Parliament (EP), results of a survey called ISSP Slovensko 2008 revealed that only 33.5 percent of people find the upcoming EP election important, while 26.5 percent find it unimportant, the TASR newswire reports.

According to the Eurobarometer poll, which was carried out between October 6 and November 6 last year, Slovakia is the EU-member country with the highest level of trust towards the European legislature.

The survey also showed that citizens of Slovakia are also the best-informed EU residents when it comes to the EP. As many as 72 percent of the surveyed Slovaks claimed that they had heard or seen information about the institution though the research was subjective and no quiz or test was involved).

According to the Eurobarometer poll, Slovaks also top the list as far as the importance of the EP is concerned, with 91 percent viewing the EP's tasks as important.

“The level of trust is high, but this doesn't mean that people will go to vote in the Slovak MEPs. They simply have a feeling that it's something far-off, but something that can be trusted, something that's less corrupt than what we know from our region,” Vladimir Krivy of the Sociological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) told TASR.

People in Slovakia generally view the EU and its institutions as trustworthy. “Fairly decent and reliable money is coming from there, and, for instance, courts work better there than in Slovakia,” he said. According to him, many Slovaks have a perception that the EU “follows up on the age-old image of the West as a world in which we want to belong.”

For Slovaks, however, this doesn't imply that they should go out and vote in the EP election. Apart from the perception of Brussels as a ‘distant world’, it is also because people lack knowledge about the candidates for MEPs, said Krivy.

The EP election in 2004 saw only a 16.96 percent voter turnout in Slovakia, the lowest of the then EU-25. This time the vote will be on June 6 and there will be 27 EU countries voting. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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