Information campaign on European Union membership to target older people

Фото: Европейская комиссия

As in other parts of Central and Eastern Europe referendums will be held on European Union accession in the coming months. The Czech Republic is of course one of those countries, with a referendum scheduled for June. The government has been slowly working on an information campaign to educate the Czech public on the pros and cons of EU membership. Recently, organizers of the campaign have said their goal is to target older people and those living in the countryside. Compared to other candidate countries, support for joining the EU is quite low in the Czech Republic. Martin Hrobsky spoke earlier to analyst Jiri Pehe. and began by asking him why.

Photo: European Commission
"Well I think that its lower than in other East European countries simply because one of our top politicians and one of the strongest political parties is euro-sceptic. I think that this is reflected in public opinion but no necessarily reflected as a rejection of membership in the European Union. If we look at opinion polls we can see that 45 percent of people are in favour of EU membership, about 30 percent are undecided, and the rest are against. If we ask the question in a different way, that is if a referendum were to be help tomorrow how would you vote then we get different numbers. In fact, we get 65 to 70 percent of people in favour of EU membership."

Why do you think the current information campaign by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is specifically targeting older people?

"If we look at various survey's there is no great need to convince young people. Young people, or the majority of young people and certainly more educated young people, are in favour of membership in the European Union because they realize that there are many opportunities for them in EU membership. It is the older generation who are sceptical simply because they are uncertain, they are not sure how they will fare in this common space. Some of them are of course also victims of communist propaganda and communist's basically telling this older generation that they may lose their social security or that their welfare many not be preserved."

Do you think that there is any chance that the Czech Republic would vote against EU membership?

"We can not exclude the possibility that people would vote against, on the other hand I think one of the reason why we have this large group of undecided voters is that they do not have enough information, at least that's what people say. I think that with the campaign a lot of these people will see that the European Union is no paradise but on the other hand that we do not have no alternative and actually overall it is to our advantage."