Many significant findings were obtained from a number of surveys conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre (Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění – CVVM) of the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in connection with the integration process of the Czech Republic into the European structures . But because even these findings are subject to the general tendency to sink into fast oblivion, I will try to mention especially the attitudes, opinions, and expectations, forming the basis for the relationship of the public towards the European Union, a body whose part we will become next year and in which we are to build our position.
To what degree do the inhabitants identify themselves with the thought of integration of the European countries into a large entity? Do they perhaps express only their purely pragmatic, utilitarian interests? These questions were a frequent subject matter of a number of expert discussions, treating the relationship of the public to the European Union, its Europeanism, or the issue of national identity. Surveys conducted in IVVM and CVVM have shown that Czech citizens find the notion of unified Europe very close to them - on average, three quarters of them expressed the conviction about its correctness between 1997 and 2001. Their positive opinion may be explained by the general inclination of members of a small nation to create larger, stronger groups, providing security to its members, and also by the desire to return the country to developed Europe. Respondents accentuated these circumstances after the Czech Republic filed its application to enter the European Union in 1996.