Oľga Gyárfášová

    is a sociologist based in Bratislava. From 1993 she worked as a researcher and analyst at the FOCUS research agency. She later co-founded the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) and works as an analyst and serves on the board of trustees. She also teaches at the Department of Sociology and Economics at CU, and is the director of its Institute of European Studies and International Relations.  Her research focuses on public opinion, political culture, and gender studies. Has co-authored numerous number of publications and studies, including She and He in Slovakia: Gender Issues in Public Opinion (1996); Slovakia before Elections: People – Opinions – Context (1998); Democracy and Discontent in Slovakia: A Public Opinion Profile of a Country in Transition (1998); The 1998 Parliamentary Elections and Democratic Rebirth in Slovakia (1999), The Country in Motion (2001), Slovakia: Ten Years of Independence and a Year of Reforms (2004), Slovakia 2012. Trends in Quality of Democracy (2013) and, most recently, 25 Years of the V4 as Seen by the Public (2016). “I call this ‘Europeanism Slovak-style’. Slovaks’ perception of the European Union is certainly extremely positive, but it is also very instrumental and pragmatic. It has more to do with the material benefits Slovaks receive as a result of EU membership, and less to do with common values, solidarity or a sense of collective belonging. I think the political discourse in recent months played a rather significant role as well. Instead of speaking of ‘common problems’, the blame for current difficulties was cast on others, especially Germany and the German Chancellor, and people asked: ‘Why should we be the ones to solve these problems’? […] The tendency to vote for anti-establishment parties who are against the system is evident in Slovakia as well, but for the time being I don’t see any Orbán or Kaczyński here. The political landscape in Slovakia is very splintered, very fragmented. There is no dominant ideology as is the case for Viktor Orbán in Hungary, who is backed by a strong party and a majority of the electorate. Kaczyński’s position in Poland is similar. In Slovakia, however, the political forces are too fragmented for a clear trend away from liberal democracy to emerge. The parties will offset one another according to a system of checks and balances, so that liberal democracy is preserved.”