EU survey: Czechs at the bottom when it comes to trust in government

A newly released Eurobarometer survey places the Czech Republic at the bottom of the EU ladder when it comes to trust in government. Faith in the country’s democratic system is also down. Meanwhile, trust in the EU has risen slightly, with most Czechs believing that the union should prioritise rapid access to safe and effective vaccines.

Just 19 percent of the Czech public trusts its government, according to an EU-wide Eurobarometer survey taken in February of 2021. Together with Slovenia, the Czech Republic placed at the bottom of the category among the whole EU 27 and, in year-on-year terms, trust has gone down by more than a half.

Trust in Parliament fell from last year‘s 25 percent to 15 percent. Only respondents in Bulgaria and Slovenia showed the same level of distrust.

Czech Parliament | Photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

The EU average for trust in government lies at 36 percent, while average Parliamentary trust lies at 35 percent.

The Czech distrust in executive leadership is also reflected in how Czechs view government efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Satisfaction with government coronavirus measures fell from last summer’s 71 percent to just 24 percent, an indicator of the botched handling of the second wave of the pandemic after an initial effective response in the spring of 2020. However, more than two thirds of Czech respondents consider the coronavirus countermeasures as justified.

There is also a significant split in terms of trust between specific institutions. Nine out of ten Czechs say that they trust both their medical staff and the army, but only 60 percent of respondents trust their regional and local public authorities. Meanwhile, just one in ten Czechs trusts political parties.

While the trust of Czechs in their government and Parliament is down, faith in the European Union actually rose to 48 percent, the highest it has been in eight years. However, a slight majority still disagrees with the option of transferring more decisions up to the EU level.

Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

When it comes to NATO, Czechs showed high levels of support, with 71 percent of respondents saying that they trust the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, placing the country far ahead of the 49 percent EU average.

Another institution which saw a significant rise in approval is the United Nations. 57 percent of Czech respondents said that they have faith in the international organisation, up by 20 percent when compared to the same period last year.

When it comes to the question of handling the coronavirus pandemic, 60 percent of Czechs say that the EU should prioritise rapid access to safe and effective vaccines. This is far beyond the EU average which lies at 36 percent and surpassed only by Finnish respondents. The second most frequent answer among Czechs is that the EU should establish a common European strategy for facing a similar crisis in the future.