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Pandemic reinforced existing divisions, research finds

Analysis

Photo by DimaBerlin/Shutterstock.com

Poland was described as a "polarized democracy", where the crisis strengthened the already existing divisions between social groups. The majority of the population remains wary of the government, to which it attributes ulterior motives and perceives its actions as a threat to freedom, according to a study on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe prepared by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) wrote Euractiv.pl.

The pandemic highlighted the existing generational divisions, visible both in individual societies of EU countries and throughout Europe. Not all Europeans view the ongoing health crisis in the same way – while some nationalities overwhelmingly believe that COVID-19 has not affected them at all, in others the majority of the public says that it had a big impact.

Moreover, depending on the country, clear differences in the level of the sense of freedom are noticeable. The overwhelming number of citizens in Poland believe that they have been affected by the ongoing pandemic – such an opinion was expressed by 61% of Polish respondents, of which 14% noted that they only felt economic repercussions, wrote Euractiv.pl as cited by the Warsaw Business Journal.

Respondents from Portugal, Spain, and Hungary, i.e. the countries of the South and East, responded similarly. This clearly contrasts with the responses of the inhabitants of the countries of the North and the West. The Danes felt the smallest impact on their lives, as much as 72% of them indicated that they had personally felt neither serious illness, nor mourning, nor economic hardship.

The authors of the study are Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and a permanent employee of the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, as well as Mark Leonard, co-founder, and director of ECFR. 

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