Ten Years Together in the Union: Europe, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Supported by: Heinrich Boell Foundation 

Project span: May – November 2014

IVO project team: Grigorij Mesežnikov (project leader, editor, author), Martin Bútora (editor, author), Miroslav Kollár (editor), authors from the Czech Republic and Slovakia (including IVO residential scholars) 

Partners: Heinrich Boell Foundation 

Objective: In 2004, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became full-fledged members of the European Union. Over the previous 15 years they succeeded to carry out the ambitious course of fundamental political and socio-economic reforms, due to which they were able to fulfil criteria for membership in the most successful integration projects in Europe ever. Since 1993, both former parts of the common Czechoslovak state were developing as newly established independent states. 10 years after they reached independence they have become again a part of the multi-state grouping, this time alongside with 25 other European states.

What happened in the Czech Republic and Slovakia after joining the EU? How did the membership in EU affected people’s daily lives, functioning of the democratic institutions, the situation in the area of human and minority rights, civil society development, people’s feelings of belonging to Europe? Are two our countries today more free, open and prosperous? What did citizens expect from the membership in EU and how their expectations fulfilled in reality? Are European issues and values today closer to ordinary citizens than 10 years ago? If people’s trust to the EU and its particular institutions is still so high as it was before, why then the voter turnout in elections to European parliament is so low? Which visions of the future EU development are likely to be supported by political elites and citizens of the Czech Republic and Slovakia?

Answers to all these and other questions should be found by authors who would deal with the following eight topical areas:

  1. Ten years of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the EU: Back view (what has been done successfully, what failed, "where we are"). 
  2. The strength and weakness of liberal democracy (the phenomenon of "alternative" politics, authoritarian tendencies, populism, nationalism, extremism, irrationalism, "ghosts of the past", problems with the rule of law).
  3. Human rights and “otherness” (Europe as a home for all, gender equality, tolerance, minority issues, LGBT agenda, different lifestyles).
  4. The fate of the Roma as a continuing challenge for both countries.
  5. Active citizenship, civic participation and association, civic activism.
  6. “Open windows” (the opening of the Czech Republic and Slovakia toward Europe, mobility, experience, departures and returns of Czechs and Slovaks).
  7. Domestic debate on European issues (elites, public opinion, elections to the European Parliament).
  8. Future of the EU: seen from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.


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