Voices on Values: How European Publics and Policy Actors Value an Open Society

The German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in cooperation with the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI) and d|part – Think Tank for Political Participation

In the run-up of the 2019 European Parliament election, political leaders across Europe have been fuelling controversial discussions. Leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are presenting diametrically opposed ideas of the future of the EU, dividing opinions on whether to integrate it further or to prioritize nation-states. They each argue with varying interpretations of allegedly European values. However, what the people across the EU actually think is less clear. Do they still cherish values such as freedom of expression, respect for minorities, and the rule of law? If given the choice, would they prioritize them over economic prosperity and political stability?

At this event, we will present empirical findings from a six-country survey study (Germany, France, Poland, Hungary, Italy and Greece). The Voices on Values project by OSEPI and d|part debunks many commonly-held perceptions. By engaging policy-makers and civil society leaders in all six countries and in Brussels, the project also gauges how well shapers of policy processes actually understand the public’s concerns. The study demonstrates that in reality, public perceptions of values are not as polarized as political discourses and European leaders’ rhetoric would have us believe. Contrary to common assumptions, most Europeans support the core values underlying an open society. We will discuss the implications of this research for the future of the EU, the role of organized civil societies, and how political actors should respond going forward. 

The findings will be presented by OSEPI’s Director Heather Grabbe and d|part’s Jan Eichhorn who coordinated the study. We will discuss the results with Daniela Schwarzer, Director of DGAP, as well as experts from several of the surveyed countries.

Following the event, there will be a presentation of the German country study as well as a public discussion in German (with simultaneous English translation available). 

The event will be held in English.

19 February 2019
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Program Event
Core Expertise topic