The majority of the inhabitants of Slovakia and the Czech Republic say that the creation of two independent states brought improvements in some areas and setbacks in others, according to a survey called “Twenty years after the split of Czechoslovakia (ČSFR) and the founding of Slovakia and the Czech Republic”, carried out by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank, in cooperation with the polling agency Focus and the Center for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) at the Czech Academy of Science, in November, 2012, which polled 1,013 respondents in Slovakia and 1,212 in the Czech Republic.
As for the benefits of the separation, respondents placed the most importance on independence, autonomy and sovereignty. Yet, in Slovakia, emphasis on these attributes was significantly higher than in the Czech Republic: 49 percent of respondents in Slovakia cited these characteristics as important, compared to 22 percent of respondents in the Czech Republic. Other benefits of independence cited by Slovak respondents include international acknowledgement of the country, increased self-confidence, stronger feelings of responsibility for the nations’ own fate as well as the existence of Slovakia’s own state symbols and state institutions, according to the poll.
Additional advantages of the split cited by respondents in both countries, albeit in smaller numbers, are a better economy and economic policies, with 7 percent in the Czech Republic and 3 percent in Slovakia listing this attribute. Respondents also cited the establishment of the country’s own currency, with Slovaks mostly praising the euro and Czechs highlighting the option of keeping the Czech crown.
Yet, 29 percent of respondents in Slovakia and 42 percent of respondents in the Czech Republic said that they either have not gained anything by the split or they simply cannot tell the difference, according to the poll by IVO and Focus.
When asked what they have lost as a result the split of the Czechoslovak federation, the respondents of the November 2012 poll in Slovakia first cited negative economic impacts such as weakened industry, lower competitiveness, fewer job opportunities, a lower living standard and weaker social security. Negative economic impacts were listed by 28 percent of the population. Economic impacts of the split were cited less frequently by respondents in the Czech Republic - 5 percent, according to the poll.
Nevertheless, 19 percent of the respondents in the Czech Republic considered the shrinking of both the country’s territory and its population the greatest loss. In Slovakia, only 9 percent of the respondents viewed this factor negatively.
The second most frequently cited negative factor of the federation’s split in both countries is the loss of a common state based on coexistence, cooperation and mutuality: in Slovakia 14 percent and in the Czech Republic 16 percent. Ten percent of respondents in the Czech Republic also said they regret the loss of scenic natural wonders found in Slovakia, according to the poll.
Approximately one third of those polled in both countries either did not see or could not determine any negative impacts of the split of the federation, according to the poll.