A new poll reveals the Czech Republic's favorite foreign nations

Research shows that Czechs have positive perceptions of their neighbors but negative impressions of eastern powers.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.02.2022 11:16:00 (updated on 03.02.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic's international relations are complex. The government is looking to pivot the country back towards western allies, while some figures, including President Miloš Zeman, are known to favor strong relations with the East. But which countries do the Czech public like the most?

A new survey from the Center for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) sheds light on this question. Czechs were asked to rank thirteen countries from one to five in terms of favorability, with one being the highest score and five the lowest.

It turns out that despite talk of a local rivalry, Slovakia remains the Czech public’s favorite foreign nation. More than half of survey respondents gave Slovakia a score of 1, or “very nice.” 88 percent gave it a score of either one or two.

Slovakia scored much higher than any other nation, and positive perceptions seem to extend to the nation’s leadership: another recent study by CVVM found Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová to be Czechs’ most trusted international leader.

Second place went to Austria, another country with which the Czech Republic enjoys good neighborly relations. The top five were rounded out by France, Great Britain and Hungary.

More ambivalent perceptions were reported for Poland, Germany and the U.S.A, although impressions of these countries are still more positive than negative. It’s unsurprising that the Czech Republic’s two most powerful regional partners, as well as the West’s greatest economic superpower in the shape of America, generated some negative responses as well as positive ones.

Interestingly, perceptions are generally negative for Ukraine and Israel, two countries for which the Czech Republic has been keen to show support on the international stage. Ukraine is facing threats from Russia, but Czechs only gave it an average likeability score of 2.89.

And although former Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2018 that Israel “has no greater friend that the Czech Republic in the eastern hemisphere,” Czechs only gave Israel an average sympathy score of 2.91.

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Yet Czechs have the worst perceptions of eastern powers with autocratic regimes. The bottom three nations evaluated in the survey were Turkey, Russia and China, in descending order. Only around a quarter of people have sympathetic views of Turkey and Russia. This proportion is even less for China, while 49 percent of respondents gave that country scores of either four or five.

The results were collected at the turn of November and December 2021. It should be remembered that since then, some major changes have been seen on the international stage, most notably the ramping up of tensions at the Ukrainian border.

Yet compared to results from a previous study conducted in 2019, Czechs generally take a rosier view of foreign nations. Positivity increased significantly for every country included in the survey except Slovakia, which retained its place at the top of the rankings.

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