Strengthening Citizenship in V4 Countries

Supported by: The International Visegrad Fund 

Project span: April – December 2017

Project team:  Grigorij Mesežnikov (project coordinator for Slovakia),  Zora Bútorová, Oľga Gyárfašová, Ján Bartoš.

Cooperating institutions: STEM – Institute of Empirical Research (Prague, Czech Republic), project leader; partners: Institute of Public Affairs (ISP, Warsaw, Poland), Political Capital Institute (Budapest, Hungary), Institute for Public Affairs (IVO, Bratislava, Slovakia).

Objective: The international team of experts from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and  Poland aims to map the level of active citizenship in individual Visegrad countries and to explore the motivation of individuals to participate in the democratic process. The concept of the project is based on the assumption that active citizenship is closely linked to shared values, to existing social capital, how people assess their position in society in terms of implementing their rights, fulfilling their ideas about life strategies, interacting with fellow citizens, and the public sphere (state and its institutions, self-governments, courts, etc.)  

The project’s activities are focused on active citizenship in the V4 countries on three levels:

  1. Political attitudes and behavior of citizens (electoral participation, political participation, membership in political parties, engagement in protest actions and other manifestations, demonstrations, satisfaction of the population with political representation).  .
  2. Civil society and community activities (membership in non-governmental organizations of various types operating in different spheres of society at local, national, European and global level).
  3. Values (freedom, democracy, human and minority rights, cultural diversity, religious tolerance and dialogue, civic co-existence).

The subject of research and discussions will be the social cohesion as a factor affecting active citizenship, including civic participation. Particular attention will be paid to solidarity, inclusiveness and equality, particularly in terms of their impact on the motivations of citizens to participate in public activities.

Membership in the European Union has an extraordinary importance for Central European countries – civilizational, security, geopolitical, value etc. The attempt to belong to the community of free and democratic states, connected with the values on which the model of liberal democracy is built, was a strong motivating factor in the period of transformation reforms, institutionalization and consolidation of democracy after the collapse of communist regimes. Citizens of the Visegrad states, in their vast majority, have supported the move towards the integrated Europe.

Civil society actors have played an irreplaceable role in the accession process. They were the most prestigious and ultimate descendants of united Europe in which active citizenship is at the forefront of a system of links between peoples, the general public, the public sphere and other sectors of society. Civic activists have highlighted the EU value base.

EU membership is a challenge for civil society actors in the V4 countries, the answer to which will be the most effective, high and sustainable level of civic participation.

Planned activities:

  • Initial review study on civic participation and its contemporary reflection.
  • Structured expert interviews.
  • Representative public opinion survey on the factors of civic participation and motivations of people to participate in civic activities.
  • Study containing analysis of survey data:



  • Public discussions/round tables with experts and public representatives.

Discussion on active citizenship in Slovakia and V4 countries in Bratislava (25th October, 2017): 


Discussion on active citizenship in Slovakia and V4 countries in Trnava (16th November, 2017): 


  • Final press conference with presentation of major research findings and conclusions from public debates:




Public debate on civic participation in Prague (18th January, 2018): 




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