The absolute majority of the Czech public rejects the deployment of Czech soldiers for combat in Afghanistan, while support for this step was voiced by less than a fifth of respondents (17 %), opinions against were expressed by three quarters (75 %) of citizens. Resentment to sending a Czech special unit to Afghanistan clearly prevails among supporters of all political parties, with the strongest disagreement being voiced by supporters of the KSČM (90 % against, 7 % for), followed by followers of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) (78 % against, 14 % for), Christian Democratic Party- Czechoslovak People’s Party (KDU-ČSL) (73 % against, 23 % for) and ODS (70 % against, 24 % for).
At the beginning of December 2003, 57 % of respondents of the “Czech Society” survey said they would participate in elections to the European Parliament. On the basis of these data it would be possible to expect the participation in these elections of about 32 - 36 % of voters. The number of those that stated they would not participate in the elections grew from 16 % in October 2002 to 27 %.
Similarly, as in the previous two years, even this year citizens consider media to be the main guarantor of providing information about the integration of the country in the European Union. They also find the function of the government to be very important. More than two fifths of respondents included elected representatives of both chambers of the Parliament, and also scientific and educational institutions among the most important entities.
After entering the EU, the Czech public expects that changes for the worse in the social and economic sectors are more likely than not. The only exception in the areas monitored in the survey is represented in this aspect by wages, which are more often expected to grow by people (35 %), than to drop (11 %) after entering the EU. The negative expectations clearly dominate in the price area, whether it concerns grocery (82 % anticipate price increases), energy prices (74 %), land (71 %) or public transport (60 %).
First we asked with which countries we should maintain close economic relations. Most frequently named states were Germany (59 %), Slovakia (36 %), Austria (29 %) and Poland (22 %), more than an eighth of respondents also gave the U.S.A., Great Britain, France and the Russian Federation. The order of countries, with which we should co-operate politically, differed; the most important partners for us should be Slovakia (45 %), Germany (44 %), Poland (29 %) and Austria (22 %).
In its May survey, Public Opinion Research Centre asked among others this open question (i.e. a question without possible answer options): “In your opinion what are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Czech entry to the EU? Please give the three most important advantages and disadvantages of Czech entry.” The respondents’ answers have shown that for them the most important advantages of our entry to the EU are the border opening (56%), the possibility of working in EU countries (35 %), the possibility to study in EU countries (24 %) and the overall economic benefit (20%).
The question, if respondents are going to participate in the June referendum on the entry of the Czech Republic to the European Union, was answered as follows: 42 % of citizens with the voting right stated they would "definitely" participate, 35 % said they would "more likely" participate and 16 % would not take part. The group, which does not know whether it will participate or not, currently amounts to seven percent.
With the upcoming date of the referendum on the entry of the CZ to the EU, we have been monitoring flows between the group of those that claim they will "definitely" participate and those that are not completely certain about their participation and chose the answer option "will more likely participate in the referendum on the entry of the CZ to the EU”. However, the number of those that say they will participate in the referendum has not changed much since the end of last year and in April 78 % of respondents declared their participation.
The actual attack on Iraq was supported by 24 % of Czech citizens in the first half of April, while 70 % did not agree with it. However, simultaneously the attack on Iraq without the mandate of the Security Council of the UN was labelled as acceptable only by 16 % of respondents, whereas 77 % expressed an opposite standpoint. Supporters of military action against Iraq most frequently named the reason for their opinion as the necessity to remove Saddam’s regime (29 %), the necessity of fighting terrorism (23 %), the necessity of securing international safety (14 %), inevitability and justification of a military solution of the problems with Iraq (9 %) or the necessity of eliminating Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (7 %).
The number of declared participants of the referendum has not changed much since November; it still ranges between 77 - 80 % of people with the voting right. Neither was there a different distribution of votes between the groups for and against, the approximate division of respondents has remained the same: 60 % for, 20 % against, 20 % do not know. A half of the people want the EURO, a third rejects it.