Country Profile: Slovakia

Transatlantic Relationship and Global Views

  • International favorability of the United States remained relatively stable. Seventy percent of respondents in the EU described their opinion of the U.S. as very or somewhat favorable, while 26% described their opinion of the somewhat or very unfavorable. Slovak respondents were strongly negative with 52% responding undesirable.
  • European support for U.S. President Barack Obama’s international policies polled at 69% approval, while 21% disapproved. Slovakia was among the highest disapproval rates with 31% disapproving.
  • In the EU, 65% of respondents described Russian leadership as undesirable, while only 27% found it desirable. Slovak respondents were the most likely to describe Russian leadership as desirable with 39% approval.
  • When asked about Russia itself, 62% of Europeans, up from 55% last year, expressed unfavorable feelings while only 28% of respondents, down from 37% last year, held favorable opinions. Slovaks were the most likely to view Russia favorably (58%, down six percentage points since 2012).
  • In the EU, 65% of respondents found Chinese leadership in world affairs undesirable, while 26% found it desirable. Slovakia was among the most likely to find Chinese leadership undesirable with 77% opposed.

Economic Crisis, Europe, and Trade

  • When asked if they had been personally affected by the economic crisis, Europeans overwhelmingly reported that they had: 65% in Europe said that they or their families had been greatly or somewhat affected.
  • In Europe and the United States, large majorities believe that their economic system disproportionately rewards the few at the expense of the many. Sixty-eight percent of Americans and 82% of Europeans said that most of the benefits of their economic system go to a few, while 25% of Americans and 15% of Europeans said that their economic system works fairly for everybody. Within Europe, a number of countries approached unanimity, including Slovakia where 88% of respondents concurred (up from 85% in 2012).
  • When asked their opinion of the EU’s handling of the economic crisis, 43% of European respondents approved, while 49% disapproved. Europeans were more confident in the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with 47% saying that they approved of her handling of the economic crisis while 42% disapproved.
  • Fifty-seven percent (down four percentage points since 2012, but down ten since 2011) of European respondents, said that, overall, EU membership had been good for their economy, while 34% (up three percentage points since 2012), said that it had been bad. Slovakia diverged sharply from the average with a 62% approval rate.
  • At the same time, majorities in nearly every country surveyed responded that the use of the euro has been bad for their economy. Sixty percent of European respondents said that use of the euro has been bad, compared to 33% who said it has been good; yet within Slovakia, majorities (59%) believed that the euro has been good.
  • When those in Slovakia who responded that use of the euro had been bad were asked if they wanted to return to their previous currency, a 58% majority of the subset (19% of the full sample) wanted to return to the koruna.

Transatlantic Security

  • Respondents were asked whether the partnership in security and diplomatic affairs between the U.S. and the EU should become closer, remain about the same, or whether the respondents’ side should take a more independent approach. Although opinion is divided, pluralities of both Europeans (42%) and Americans (33%) stated that their own side should take a more independent approach. Slovaks were the most in favor of remaining the same (43%).
  • Despite pervasive pessimism about the ultimate success of the NATO mission in Afghanistan and continued debate about European contributions to allied burden-sharing, the institution was seen as “still essential” for their country’s security by 55% of Americans and 58% of Europeans — values nearly unchanged since 2002. There were vast polling differences, however. Slovakia saw the largest drop in support to 54% (down 7 percentage points).
  • Among the minority of respondents who no longer considered NATO essential for their country’s security, a majority in the United States (52%, 17% of the total sample) and a plurality in Europe (35%, 12% of the total sample) said their own country “should be able to make its own military decisions.” This statement received the lowest agreement in Slovakia with only 17% approval (4% of the total sample).
  • Ten percent in the U.S. (3% of the total) and 26% in the EU (9% of the total) said that there were no major military threats to their own country. Support for this statement was highest in Slovakia (44%, 15% of the total).
  • When asked whether their governments should increase, maintain, or reduce spending in general, most respondents chose either to maintain or reduce spending. However, when asked about defense spending in particular, pluralities in the United States and Europe (both 46%) wanted to maintain current military outlay levels. Thirty-eight percent of Europeans wanted to decrease spending (compared to 39% in 2012), as opposed to only 26% of Americans (compared to 32% in 2012). In Europe, approval for spending cuts was among the highest levels in Slovakia (48%).
  • When asked about intervening in Syria and whether their government should stay out completely or intervene, a two-thirds majority in the U.S. (62%, up 7 percentage points) along with nearly three-fourths of respondents in Europe (72%, up 13 percentage points) preferred to stay out. Slovakia (85%) was very adamant about staying out.
  • Although in 2012 Europeans were pessimistic about Afghanistan and wanted to withdraw all troops, this most Europeans (53%) supported keeping troops in Afghanistan to train the Afghan army and police. Slovak respondents were less enthusiastic however and 54% disapproved of their government contributing troops.
  • The U.S. and Europe disagree on the use of force and when asked in 2013 if they agreed that war was sometimes necessary to obtain justice, there was a 37-percentage point difference between Americans (68% of whom agreed, down six percentage points) and Europeans (31% of whom agreed). Disapproval has increased in some of the European countries, such as Slovakia (75%, up six percentage points).

Mobility, Migration, and Integration

  • When asked whether respondents consider immigration to be more of a problem or an opportunity, Americans were evenly split (problem: 47%; opportunity: 46%). Similarly, 44% of Europeans saw immigration as more of a problem, with 41% seeing it as an opportunity. In Europe, the view that immigration is more of a problem was among the most common in Slovakia with 52% of respondents sharing that viewpoint. However, Slovakia also showed a high number of respondents who saw immigration as neither a problem nor an opportunity with 19%.
  • When asked whether they worried about legal immigration, 73% of Americans and 69% of Europeans said they were not. However, 25% of Americans stated that they were worried about legal immigration; 29% of Europeans shared this view. Concern was among the highest in Slovakia, with 35% of respondents worried about this issue.
  • When asked whether they worried about illegal immigration, 61% of Americans said that they did, joined by 71% of Europeans. Only 37% in the U.S. said they were not worried, with 27% in the EU including 38% in Slovakia.
  • Asked whether there were “too many,” “a lot but not too many,” or “not many” immigrants in their country, a plurality of Americans (41%) responded that there were “too many” immigrants in their country, with 33% of European respondents agreeing. Only in Romania and Slovakia (both 51%) did a majority of respondents say there were “not many” immigrants in their country.
  • Majorities of respondents in the United States (61%) and Europe (52%) stated that they felt that first-generation immigrants were integrating well into their society including a majority in Slovakia 60%.
  • When respondents were asked about second-generation immigrants, answers were even more positive. Sixty-eight percent of Americans thought they were integrating well, with 59% of Europeans concurring. Agreement was among the highest Slovakia with 71% in agreement.