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The European Union in touch with its citizens: the analytical tools of public opinion

At a time when the sovereign debt crisis has put European public opinions under pressure, this Policy Brief by Salvatore Signorelli reviews the diversity of instruments available for the European institutions to analyse their evolution. He makes a distinction between European quantitative polls carried out within the “Eurobarometer” surveys and other tools used by national and European decision-makers.

|   15/03/2012             |   Salvatore Signorelli             |   Democracy and citizenship
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At a time when the sovereign debt crisis has put European public opinions under pressure, it seems useful to remind that the EU has created tools to analyse public opinions, which are given special attention by decision-makers, even though citizens are rather unaware of their existence.

This Policy Brief by Salvatore Signorelli reviews the diversity of instruments available for the European institutions, by distinguishing on the one hand European quantitative polls, and especially the three sorts of Eurobarometers (Standard, Special, and Flash); and on the other hand, other analysis tools such as Eurobarometer qualitative surveys, deliberative polling and national surveys.

The regular publication of such surveys enables to compare the evolution of national public opinions and to measure the consistency of the expression “European opinion”; it also fuels reflection of national and European decision-makers when they determine the main guidelines of the European construction and the EU decisions.