Project Coordinator


  • Public Opinion Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Policy Analysis
  • Public Discourse Analysis
  • Events
  • Podcasts



The proposed project reacts to the upcoming 2024 European Parliament elections and the general need to understand the underlying mechanisms behind societal polarisation around vital issues that have intensified over recent years, particularly amongst the newer EU Member States. Newer member states, such as the V4 countries, generally have low participation in elections. They tend to veer towards Euroscepticism and high levels of distrust in authorities, institutions, and – more broadly – change and transformations. To better comprehend why this is the case, a better understanding of citizens’ needs, wishes, concerns, and fears is essential. It is also timely; Europe stands at the precipice of numerous transitions, chief among which is the green transformation combating climate change and the EU policies associated with it, which will permanently – and markedly – change societies as we know them.

In reflection on these looming imperatives, the goal of our project is to gauge citizens’ attitudes and preferences towards four broad policy domains that played a pivotal role in the European Union’s quest to adapt to a new policy environment in the recent past: decarbonization policies, migration, the COVID-19 pandemic, and debates over the rule of law in some of the recalcitrant member states (elaborated below).

In particular, the V4 countries have, over the past half a decade, experienced democratic backsliding and a resurgence of populism, accompanied by social fragmentation and a gradual erosion of the rule of law. The way these states dealt with the so-called migration crisis and the pandemic in many ways reinforced this negative trend. Corollary to this backsliding, Eurosceptic sentiment has been nurtured by policymakers through a distinct sovereigntist spin, further dividing societies and exacerbating dissatisfaction with the EU and democracy itself. The V4 has proven particularly susceptible to these developments; the Czech Republic and Slovakia had the lowest and third-lowest turnout in the European Parliament elections in 2019, and Poland and Hungary fell below the EU-average turnout, a clear signal of widespread detachment from the European project. Furthermore, democratic backsliding is particularly pronounced in Hungary and Poland, primarily based on an adversarial framing of the EU to justify creeping authoritarianism. Such rhetoric is paradoxically based on a majoritarian conception of democracy under an alleged affront by an imperial overreach from the power centers in Brussels and beyond. Among other factors, these legitimating narratives by local power holders on democratic grounds make the EU’s tentative initiatives to safeguard democracy particularly vulnerable to failure.

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