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  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: This text deals with the topic of the European Union's response to COVID-19 and how it is perceived by Czech society. As of 13th August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 179 000 European lives out of 1,8 million who contracted with the virus1 . Most of the European states issued lockdowns, significantly curtailing economic activity. This resulted in the deepest recorded recession in the EU, reaching negative 11,9% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2020. . ▪ As a reaction to the ongoing economic crisis, the European Council decided to create a joint €750 billion recovery fund called Next Generation EU that should be financed by loans and repaid after 2027, a significant step that might mitigate the poor perception of the EU actions during the initial weeks of the health crisis. Significant EU criticism appeared in Italy; leading international outlets started discussing whether Europe had lost Italy.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, European Union, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The latest article from Vít Havelka aims to explain how the Czech population perceives the EU Climate Policy and especially the European Green Deal. Czechs are sceptical about European ability to influence global emissions. The common sentiment is that there is China, the US and India who produce larger amounts of global pollution, and thus even if Europe transformed into a climate-neutral economy, the process of climate change would continue more or less unabated.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, our Christian Kvorning Lassen outlines the image of the European Union's actions during the COVID-19 outbreak, which are often misinterpreted or forgotten by Member States, with a focus on the Czech Republic. As a preface, it must be noted that this is not intended to be a critique of the Czech COVID-19 measures, which have been timely and so far reasonably efficient, nor is it an absolution of EU’s actions during the crisis. The old adage of “everything you do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything you did will seem inadequate afterwards” holds as much true to the EU as it does to Member States. However, once the crisis ends, the political struggle for the future of Europe and European democracy will erupt, which in turn will affect all citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic is already shaping up to become a deeper crisis of democracy, and the European Union. Some V4 leaders were swift to suggest sacrificing the European Green Deal and thereby future generations’ existential living conditions in the name of short-term economic recovery. Domestically, V4 political elites show no qualms about deceiving the public by claiming credit at home for EU initiatives or misrepresenting them, while at the same time decrying the EU as inactive and dysfunctional, conveniently forgetting to mention the numerous initiatives that the EU is launching within its competencies.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, European Union, Democracy, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: On May 28th 2017, the German Chancellor surprised the world with a statement calling on Europe to ‘take its fate into own hand’, adding “the era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent”. Pundits perceived her speech as a landmark change in a long-term European defence paradigm. Since the end of the WWII, the European security depended on the United States, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American defence shield was further broadened to former soviet satellites in Central Europe. However, the last years were marked by a growing rift between the EU and the US. The departure of the UK from the European Union underlined the crisis of European defence structures as the EU would lose a member state with the strongest European army, a seat in Security Council, and large part of its nuclear arsenal. As a result, the European leaders gathered shortly after the Brexit vote in Bratislava and decided they would launch PESCO, a voluntary defence cooperation on project basis. The aim was not only to renew the integrational process after the Brexit blow, but also to strengthen European defence research and provide the EU with missing hard power.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Migration, Public Opinion, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his latest EU monitor, Vít Havelka examines the attitude of the general Czech public towards the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework. At the beginning of May 2018, the European Commission introduced its proposal of the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27. Since then, the EU member states as well as the European Parliament have been intensively negotiating about each aspect of the Commission´s draft without being able to reach an agreement. Consequently, the talks will slip into 2020, probably being finalized no earlier than summer 2020 during the German presidency of the European Council. The following article is therefore meant to provide the reader with an understanding of what ordinary Czechs think of the MFF negotiations and what should the EU budget finance. The text is predominantly based on standard public opinion poll conducted by STEM Agency in cooperation with EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy in October 2019. The sample consisted of 1002 respondents, combining PAPI and CAPI questioning. The quantitative research was supplemented with qualitative questioning in form of focus groups conducted at the beginning of November 2019.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, European Union, Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: This study is mainly based on a series of 12 brief surveys by Behavio research agency and on longitudinal research by STEM Institute for Empirical Research. The expert’s inputs were provided by EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy. The Czech Republic could serve as a kind of laboratory for investigating anti-EU sentiments. Czechs’ perception of the EU membership is the poorest of all the EU citizens, (mere 33 % view it as a good thing). Not even half of the adult Czech population (47 %) would vote to stay in the EU, despite having a booming economy and bearing almost no impact of the migration crisis. Moreover, the Czech economy is strongly export-oriented and benefits from the EU budget. Thus these negative sentiments seem to be very much about emotions and image. Czechs’ feelings toward the EU are similar to other Visegrad (V4) countries in many ways, but these similarities are less prominent than one would expect – especially in the case of Slovakia, where attitudes towards NATO and the EU are reversed. In many aspects, Czech Eurosceptics have been more influenced by British and Italian politicians than by their counterparts in Slovakia, Hungary or Poland. The popularity of the EU in the Czech Republic has been very volatile over the past 15 years. It was even modest at the beginning and the first disillusion came soon after the country’s accession, but was quickly countered by the Czech presidency of EU in 2009. EU’s image dropped again during the global economic downturn and the Eurozone crisis, which played a relatively strong role in the 2010 national election campaign. The migration crisis worsened negative sentiments even further, despite having little direct effect on the country. The recently observed increase in popularity can be mostly attributed to the country’s economic growth.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, European Union, Survey
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic