Credit: CG

Almost Half of Czechs Satisfied With EU Membership, Says Survey

Almost half of Czechs are satisfied with their membership in the European Union, and more than a third of them are satisfied with the EU’s functioning to date, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos for CTK, ahead of European Parliament elections in June.

The most frequent reasons for dissatisfaction with the functioning of the EU are the perceived limitations on the sovereignty of member states, the EU’s migration policy, and excessive regulation. On the other hand, the advantages of the Union most emphasised by respondents included security and peace in the Union, protection of democratic values, and support and development of regions.

According to the survey, more than 13% of people are very satisfied with the Czech Republic’s membership in the Union, while over 34% are rather satisfied with it. Some 19% of respondents are very dissatisfied and 25% are rather dissatisfied. In the case of the functioning of the European Union, less than 5% of respondents are very satisfied and another 31% are rather satisfied. 25% are very dissatisfied, another 31% are rather dissatisfied.

People under 34 are more likely to be satisfied, while the older generation over 55 is more likely to be dissatisfied.

“In the long term, we see a fairly clear generational difference in the relationship with the EU. The younger generation is more likely to feel like ‘Europeans’ and this makes their relationship with the EU more positive. Hundreds of thousands of people have experienced the Erasmus programme, for example, and have experienced first-hand one of the biggest advantages of the EU for the younger generation,” said Michal Kormanak, the head of the Public Affairs department at Ipsos.

In the survey, the main reason given by people for their dissatisfaction with the functioning of the EU was the perceived limits on the sovereignty of Member States (cited by 41% of respondents), followed by problems related to migration policy (39%), over-regulation (35%), and too much focus on green transformation and tackling climate change (31%). Men are more likely to be dissatisfied with the focus on green issues, while older people are more bothered by questions of sovereignty and migration policy.

The most important advantage provided by the EU, according to respondents, is security and peace in the union; over two-thirds of people ranked this as very important and almost a quarter as rather important. This was followed by the protection of democratic values and the promotion and development of regions. Free movement within the Union is also very important to a third of people.

4% of Czechs have used the Erasmus student programme, and about a third know someone who has been abroad within it. Two-fifths of people do not know Erasmus at all.

“Generally speaking, Czechs perceive the EU as advantageous mainly from an economic point of view. It is an area of free movement, freedom and prosperity. In addition, we draw more from the EU than we put into it. However, this may not last much longer, and this may be a turning point in the future for the perception of this institution,” Kormanak said.

29% of people think that the Czech Republic can use EU resources, such as subsidies, effectively. The opposite opinion was expressed by 58%.

According to 58% of respondents, the Czech Republic has not yet caught up with the Western countries in terms of living standards after almost 20 years in the EU, and is beginning to fall behind them again. According to about a third of people, the Czech Republic has partially caught up with the Western standard of living and is still getting closer. 3% of people think that the Czech Republic has already caught up with the Western countries.

Three quarters of Czechs believe that the Czech Republic has a worse standard of living than Germany. Between 69 and 64% of people share this opinion when comparing the Czech Republic with Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Finland. Half of the people say that the Czech Republic has about the same standard of living as Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. More than half of Czechs believe that the Czech Republic has a higher standard of living than Romania.

The survey was conducted with a representative sample of 1,000 people aged 18 and older in February.

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