Our Finding
14. 3. 2016

Trust in the European Parliament has significantly declined since last year

Slightly over half of Czech citizens (55 %) have trust in the UN and a similar proportion trusts NATO (52 %). However, while trust in NATO is relatively stable, we have recorded a decline in trust in the UN (by 8 % since 2015). Trust in the European Union institutions is even lower and, of the institutions in this overview, the EU institutions are among those with the lowest trust rating: some 29 % of citizens trust the European Union and 24 % trust the European Parliament.

Slightly over half of Czech citizens (55 %) have trust in the UN and a similar proportion trusts NATO (52 %). However, while trust in NATO is relatively stable, we have recorded a decline in trust in the UN (by 8 % since 2015). Trust in the European Union institutions is even lower and, of the institutions in this overview, the EU institutions are among those with the lowest trust rating: some 29 % of citizens trust the European Union and 24 % trust the European Parliament. These are the lowest levels ever recorded for both institutions in STEM surveys over the years. The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 9 to 16 February 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,014 people taking part in the survey.STEM’s regular surveys focus on the trustworthiness of Czech and international institutions. Over half of Czech citizens trust the United Nations. The Czech population has a similar level of trust in NATO. Only just under one-third of Czech citizens trust the European Union, with trust in the European Parliament even lower, albeit slightly. Compared with the other institutions examined in the survey, European institutions are among those with the lowest trust rating.

Source: STEM, Trends 2016/2, 1014 respondents

Since 2005, when we added the UN to the survey, trust in this institution has remained high, at roughly 70 %. After a decline in 2011, the institution’s trust rating has remained relatively stable at around 65 %. However, in the current survey we have recorded a visible decrease in trust in the UN. Is it connected with the ongoing stalemate of the crisis in Syria which UN did not succeed to address properly?Czech citizens’ trust in NATO has been relatively stable over the long term, at in and around fifty percent.The STEM series of surveys has been regularly monitoring the way in which Czech citizens’ trust in the European Union has developed since 1994. Trust in the EU fluctuated for a long time between 50 and 60 %, with a peak in trust recorded at the beginning of the Czech Presidency in 2009. This peak was probably inspired by the conviction the country had a say within EU. Since then, however, there has been a decline in trust in the EU among Czech citizens, with the exception of a short-term increase in 2013 in the proportion of citizens who trusted the institution. The current level of public trust in the EU is at its lowest level ever recorded in STEM surveys.In the more than ten years of STEM surveys, trust in the European Parliament has taken a similar trajectory to that of citizens’ trust in the European Union in general. Again, a rise in trust in the European Parliament at the beginning of 2009 was followed by a gradual decline, down to 30% in 2012. After a short-term moderate improvement in 2013 at a time of elections, trust in the European Parliament is again currently at a new historical minimum.

Source: STEM, Trends 1994-2016

Let us now focus in greater detail on trust in the European Union. There is little difference in the level of trust in the EU among respondents of different ages and education. In terms of political preferences, TOP 09 supporters trust the European Union most. A higher than average level of trust in the EU was also recorded among ANO movement and Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) supporters. Since 2015 trust in the union saw its most significant drop among ODS supporters. The decline in trust in the EU was markedly lower among respondents of other political affiliations (from 5 to 9 %).

Source: STEM, Trends 3/2015, 2/2016

Note: Given their low representation in the group, figures for KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and ODS supporters are only approximate.Abbreviations

  1. ČSSD is the ruling Czech Socialist Democratic Party; Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
  2. ANO is centrist party and one of the junior coalition partners, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe;
  3. KDU-ČSL is the Christian Democrats and also one of junior coalition partners; Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
  4. ODS, the liberal-conservative Civic Democratic Party, is a right-wing opposition party; European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  5. TOP 09, a conservative opposition party; Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
  6. KSČM Communist Party, Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left

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