Prague - The EU means the freedom of travel, studies and work for almost one half of Czechs, but also squandering and bureaucracy for one-third of them, according to a poll conducted by the Eurobarometer and released by the European Commission Representation in Prague today.
Czechs were more critical of the EU than the European average, the poll found.
The results do not considerably differ from the previous polls, Ivo Slosarcik, from Charles University´s Institute of International Studies, said.
Czechs expect the EU to give them free space for individual activities and they do not want the EU to set standards and regulations for them, that is "to tell them what to do," he said.
On the other hand, they expect the EU to guarantee the economic prosperity, he added.
He said he lacked a greater emphasis on the promotion of Czech interests within the EU in the poll.
Some 55 percent of Czechs consider themselves EU citizens, but they placed 22nd within the whole EU in this respect.
On the other hand, 48 percent of Czechs only feel to be the Czech Republic's citizens, with which they occupied the sixth place in the EU.
Some 47 percent of those polled felt to be both Czechs citizens and Europeans.
However, more Czechs than the EU average trust European institutions.
Some 45 percent of Czechs trust the European Parliament, while the EU average is 39 percent, 42 percent the European Commission (32 percent in the whole EU) and 49 percent the European Central Bank (34 percent in the EU).
Mainly young people and those with higher education and income assessed the EU positively, while negative answers prevailed among the elderly, the unemployed and low-income groups, said Vojtech Hundl, the author of the assessment report.
Some 43 percent of Czechs agree with the view that a solution to the economic situation was the biggest problem faced by the EU.
About 29 percent believe that the main target should be an increase in the living standards of all EU citizens and an increase in economic growth.
Czechs are rather split on the question of what creates European identity. The biggest proportion, 29 percent, said it was sport.
The answer was followed by culture, history and social values.
Compared with the rest of the EU, Czechs are more often convinced that the EU is best characterised by personal freedom. On the other hand, they were the least convinced that the EU is characterised by the observance of human rights.
"The EU means mainly a historical and cultural legacy rather than some economic or political force to us," Hundl pointed out.
Czechs are ones of the most sceptical about the single European currency.
The TNS Opinion & Social consortium conducted the poll on over 32,000 European citizens, including 1000 Czechs, last November.