One-quarter of young people wants to leave Slovakia for good

Young people distrust state institutions and are not politically active.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Young people do not feel like being part of this country, and they do not even believe in its institutions.

More than one-quarter of young Slovaks plan to go abroad in the next three years. Moreover, as much as 29 percent of the young people claimed they plan to leave the country for good, according to the survey carried out by the Slovak Youth Council (RMS) in Visegrad Group (V4) countries. In Slovakia, 700 young people aged 15-24 were surveyed.

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“We asked young people how they feel in their countries, what their ideas about the future are, whether they have an impact on decision-making in society and if they are politically active,” said Katarína Čavojská of RMS, as quoted in a press release.

Young people feel excluded from politics

Young people do not trust state institutions, the survey showed. More than 80 percent of respondents do not trust the government and the parliament, and 67 percent do not trust courts. Many respondents have a feeling they have no influence over what is happening in the society and the country they live in. As much as 43 percent said their actions have no effect on the operation of the state and the institutions.

The distrust can be seen in all V4 countries, which are Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

“It is very disturbing that young people feel excluded from our society,” Čavojská said, “they don’t feel support or interest from the state and we can say that this has not changed even more than 1.5 years after the elections.

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Young people instead see some sense in civic initiatives. Up to 69 percent of respondents claimed they trust youth and student activities, according to the survey.

The young people do not give up on politics, though. They do not discuss it in public but instead with their friends and parents. They discuss it less at schools. The survey also showed that very few young people enter politics: only 8 percent personally attended public gatherings and protests last year, while 10 percent participated in boycotting products and 6 percent delivered papers with political content.

The survey also suggests that young people are not politically active online. Only one-quarter of respondents share links to stories and videos with political content, and they only rarely visit websites and fan pages of political parties. Unlike Poles and Hungarians, Slovaks do not consider the Facebook community important, the survey showed.

“Our survey only confirmed that young people are critical of the situation in society and feel excluded,” Čavojská said. “They aren’t invited to decision-making processes that concern them, which results in the society dooming them to passivity. We see the solution of their political frustration and alarming distrust in systematic participation of the young in political decision-making.”

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