Welcome to the EUROBAROMETER conference 2008

Portrait: Margot Wallström

Dear guests,

This year we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of Eurobarometer (EB). For more than three decades, Eurobarometer has been helping us to better understand European public opinion and to shape our communication policy.

To celebrate this important anniversary, the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the French Presidency and Sciences Po has the honour of organising a conference, which will take place in Paris on 21-22 November 2008.

The main objective of the Paris conference is to discuss the role of public opinion in developing a “European public sphere”. Opinion polls enable us to identify and analyse citizens’ expectations and needs, help in understanding the trends of public opinions. Eurobarometer surveys “give EU institutions ears”. We would like to discuss how to use them better, as to enable us to listen more carefully.

The discussion will focus on several crucial topics: how to use the Eurobarometer instrument, lessons learned from the European referenda, how to involve citizens and stimulate interest in next's year European elections. The debate on the first day will cover political and scientific issues and will take the form of one plenary and one working session. Subsequently two parallel workshops will be held to find answers to some political and methodological questions. On the second day, students of Sciences Po and other European universities will have the opportunity to “speak out for Europe” – discussing the Eurobarometer as a tool for shedding light on the state of public opinion towards the European Union.

I hope that this conference will enable us contribute to a better understanding of the citizens' expectation towards the EU. For this, we need your professional expertise and knowledge; we want to hear your views and ideas.

Please accept this invitation and let me underline that I will be honoured to welcome you at our conference.

Kindest regards,

Margot Wallström

Vice-President of the European Commission
in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy