No 2503 (2017)

The Influence of Václav Klaus on Czech Public Opinion Regarding the European Union

While president of the Czech Republic between 2003 and 2013, Václav Klaus, an outspoken critic of the European Union, employed speeches, interviews, and writings in his efforts to discredit the EU in the eyes of Czech citizens. Miller used opinion polls from Eurobarometer and the Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM), of the Czech Academy of Sciences, to establish a correlation between Klaus’s popularity and Euroskepticism. In the early years of Klaus’s presidency, skepticism about the EU among Czechs grew, and between 2006 and 2010, there was a strong correlation between Klaus’s popularity and Czech Euroskepticism. As Klaus’s popularity waned, during his last years in office, Czech confidence in the EU began to rise. This study not only helps to explain some bases of Czech Euroskepticism, but it also addresses the influence Czech presidents have in shaping public opinion in their country.

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Daniel E. Miller