Interest in developments within the European Union has grown among Europeans by 7 percent since 2006, but Slovaks have bucked this trend, according to the results of a Eurobarometer poll about the European Parliament (EP) that was carried out in November-December 2012 on a sample of almost 26,740 Europeans and presented by Slovak MEPs on Monday, March 4. Only 40 percent of Slovaks said they were interested in what was going on in the EU, 12 percent less than in 2006.
According to Anna Záborská, an MEP for Slovakia’s Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), the results of the 2012 poll are probably more realistic than those reported in 2006. "The first reactions [after Slovakia joined the EU in 2004] were rather more enthusiastic. Now developments relate to people more intensively, we're in a crisis and [people] view life [within the EU] more realistically," said Záborská, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Monika Flašíková-Beňová, an MEP for the Smer party, said that she had not noticed a lower level of interest among Slovaks in her talks with them face-to-face, but had found that their interest was focused on more specific problems and issues. MEP Sergej Kozlík, who represents the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), claimed that the reasons for the relatively low level of interest in EU issues among Slovaks lay in the fact that the Slovak media do not pay enough attention to the ideas of Slovak MEPs.
The EP's image in Slovakia was better than the EU average. While 36 percent of Slovaks (and 27 percent of Europeans in general) view the EP in a positive light, negative opinions were expressed by 23 percent of Slovaks (and 28 percent of Europeans) and around 41 percent of Slovaks were neutral (compared to 43 percent of Europeans). Meanwhile, around 56 percent of Slovaks would welcome a stronger status for the EP in the future, while around one-fifth wanted to keep it at the same level and the same proportion wanted it to be lowered.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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6. Mar 2013 at 14:00