Foreigners invisible to most Slovaks

People do not have a clue how many foreigners live in Slovakia. At the same time, they do not trust them, a recent poll shows.

(Source: Daniela Benková)

The 2015 migration crisis has led to several sensitive topics in Slovak society, and served as one of the motives of the campaign before the general election the following year. It seems that the prevailingly negative feelings towards foreigners have not disappeared.

Most Slovaks do not trust nationals coming from the countries outside the EU and do not think they contribute in any way to Slovak society, the recent poll carried out for the [fjúžn] festival suggests.

Related articleGet to know foreigners. Bratislava's Fjúžn festival has begun Read more 

“Although we perceive trust as one of the main value pillars society stands on, we are quite distrustful in Slovakia: towards one another and towards institutions,” Nina Galanská, head of the Milan Šimečka Foundation, the organiser of [fjúžn], told The Slovak Spectator. “If we distrust people living in our neighbourhood, it’s hard to expect that we’ll trust people we know only from media, politicians’ statements or mediated experiences.”

In fact, many people do not have a clue how many foreigners actually live in Slovakia, the poll has shown.

Trust towards foreigners worsens

Sara Azimi, who was born in Slovakia and whose parents come from Iran, admits that she sometimes encounters distrust towards her, but not that foreigners make no contribution to Slovak society.

“Many people think that I am Roma, so this may contribute to the lack of trust,” she said.

As many as 78.2 percent of 1,008 respondents surveyed by the Focus pollster in March 2019 do not trust foreigners who came to live in Slovakia from non-EU countries. The statistics are not better in the case of EU citizens either, as three-fifths of respondents said they do not trust them.

At the same time, one-third of respondents said they instead trust foreigners coming from the EU member states. Only 2 percent said they fully trust these people, though.

The results suggest a worsening tendency when compared with the poll carried out by Focus last year.

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