70% of Czechs Support Accepting Ukrainians, But Concerns Remain Over Social Security and Unemployment
Seven out of ten Czechs are in favour of welcoming people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the arrival of refugees is also raising fears among a significant part of society that social security is weakening and unemployment is rising, according to the results of a survey published last week by the STEM agency. Photo credit: JMK
Czech Republic, April 25 (BD) –The STEM study focuses on the views of the Czech public about the key consequences of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. The conflict has triggered fundamental changes in Czech public opinion related both to the position of Ukraine and Russia on the international scene and to the internal dynamics of cooperation within the EU. The situation of people fleeing the war, nearly 300,000 of whom have been welcomed by the Czech Republic, is raising some urgent questions.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought an unprecedented sense of security threat to Czech society – only 9% of the population now believes that there is no threat of conflict in Central Europe. Moreover, the conflict in Ukraine has reinforced the importance of NATO in the Czech Republic, as a full 78% of the population approves of Czech membership in this alliance, the highest proportion since 1994. Outside NATO, there is also a consensus that the EU should jointly strengthen its defence forces, purchase military equipment, and jointly obtain gas and oil supplies.
Almost two months after the start of the war, solidarity with Ukraine is high in Czech society; two-thirds (64%) of the Czech public approve of receiving and supporting Ukrainian refugees seeking refuge in the Czech Republic. Slightly more than half of the respondents expressed a willingness to make necessary concessions, even at the expense of their own standard of living, in order to help the refugees.
At the same time, however, the survey shows increased concern about the social impact of the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. In particular, people are concerned that the arrival of refugees will lead to a weakening of the social security of Czech citizens. This concern was expressed by 70% of respondents. A majority of respondents fear increased unemployment and a general weakening of the cohesion of Czech society.
Czech society is divided into two large groups when it comes to evaluating the government’s measures for Ukrainian refugees. 42% of respondents described the government’s measures as excessive. One percentage point less was the share of those who thought they were sufficient. 5% considered them insufficient. According to the authors of the survey, the low public confidence in the integration and absorption capacity of Czech society is a warning. Six out of ten respondents do not think that the Czech Republic can take care of a quarter of a million refugees in the long term.
According to their own statements, two-thirds of the adult population has been involved in some form of assistance to Ukraine, which, according to STEM sociologists, is the entire active part of society. By far the most frequent form of assistance was financial contributions, reported by 38% of respondents. Three out of ten respondents provided material donations to help Ukrainians. “Providing or offering accommodation was mentioned by only 3% of society, but this still represents tens of thousands of solidarity households,” STEM reports.
The opinions of citizens were collected by STEM between 24 March and 6 April. 1,171 respondents aged 18 and over answered the questions.