Slovakia Isn’t Neither Significantly Pro-Russian, Nor Pro-Western

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Central European Policy Institute (CEPI) director Milan Nic at a press conference in Bratislava on Wednesday (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 20 (TASR) – Slovakia isn’t strongly pro-Russian oriented, nor strongly pro-western, as most people do not strictly adhere to either in terms of civilisational values or foreign policy, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

According to a public opinion poll carried out by the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC) and Central European Policy Institute (CEPI), the development of support of Slovakia as being a part of the western world reaches almost 40 percent with the young generation (18-24 years), while only 11 percent with the oldest generation (65+ years). The poll also showed that support for EU membership dropped from 68 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2016. People are the most supportive (63 percent) of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) from among regional organisations.

Support for NATO membership hovers around 30 percent, with more than 54 percent of respondents stating that if a NATO member is attacked, Slovakia should definitely take part in defending it. The same number of respondents think that NATO membership is important for Slovakia’s security. Only 36 percent expressed support for building NATO infrastructure in Slovakia.

“Predominant is ambiguity in terms of our geopolitical orientation. In these times of increasing threats it’s a challenge also because this ambiguity points to a lack of clear vision and of foreign policy compass coming from the Slovak political elites,” commented CEPI and Globsec Policy Institute director Milan Nic, adding that the less the political elite points the direction, the more vulnerable against conspiracies the society will become. Clear foreign policy affiliation of Slovakia is also absent in the Government Manifesto, he stated.

With respect to political preferences, the most supportive of pro-western leaning were voters of Freedom and Solidarity/SaS (42 percent), followed by Most-Hid and Siet (both 35 percent). NATO membership is backed among voters of Siet (45 percent), Ordinary People-NOVA (42 percent), Most-Hid (40 percent) and SaS (36 percent). Opponents of NATO only prevail in the ranks of the far-right Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia (66 percent). Voters of other political parties largely stated that NATO membership is neither good nor bad for Slovakia.

The poll was carried out in cooperation with Focus agency on the sample of 1,000 respondents between January 31-February 7. It was part of the Monitoring Disinformation in the European Media Space project financed by the National Endowment for Democracy.