Please find here the program as a PDF-download.

Friday, 21st November 2008

8:30 – 9:30Registration and Welcome coffee
9:30 – 10:30Political Introduction: Towards a European Public Sphere?
Moderator: Claus Sørensen (DK), Director – General of Directorate General Communication, European Commission
  1. Margot Wallström (SE), VP of the Commission
  2. Jean-Pierre Jouyet (FR), Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, responsible for European Affairs
  3. Richard Descoings (FR), director of Sciences Po
Special guest: Jacques-René Rabier (FR), Founder of Eurobarometer

Reporter: Anna Kamyczek-Urbanik, Directorate General Communication

Opinion polls are an affective tool for stimulating democratic processes within society. They enable to identify the needs of the citizens, help understand their votes and provide those citizens that do not take part in elections with the opportunity to do so. It is necessary to more deeply explore the results of opinion polling, especially in the light of the upcoming EP elections. In order to increase voter participation in these elections, it is essential to listen, understand and better respond to the citizens’ voice, as expressed through the opinion polls. This plenary session aims at deepening participant’s understanding of the political and scientific context of European public opinion.

10:30 – 10:50Coffee break
10:50 – 13:30Work session: Lessons learned from European referenda
Chair: Nicole Fontaine (FR), EPP, Member oft he European Parliament, Former President oft he European Parliament
Key note speeches:
  • Richard Sinnott (IRL), University College Dublin
  • Juan Díez-Nicolás (ES), Complutense University of Madrid, ASEP (Análisis Sociológicos Económicos y Políticos)
  • Claes H. de Vreese (NL), Amsterdam School of Communications Research, University of Amsterdam
  1. Noëlle Lenoir (FR), Former Delegate Minister of European Affairs, President of the Circle of Europeans, President of the HEC Institute of Europe
  2. Dick Roche (IE), Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for European Affairs
  3. Jacques Santer (LUX), former President of the EC and Prime Minister, Representative of Luxembourg in the European Convention
  4. Gijs de Vries, Algemene Rekenkamer, Representative of the Netherlands in the European Convention
  5. Piotr M. Kaczynski (PL), Centre for European Policy Studies

Reporter: Renaud Soufflot De Magny, the European Commission Representation in Paris

Since 1972 more than 40 national referendums in 22 countries have been held on European integration. In recent years, EU citizens have had several opportunities to have a direct say on the future of the EU and consequently their own lives. These included voting on the enlargement of the EU in 2003 as well as votes to accept the treaties, as in Spain and Luxembourg, or to reject these treaties, as in France, the Netherlands and Ireland.

The main objective of this session is to discuss the lessons and conclusions drawn from these experiences. The questions to be answered:

  • Did these referenda raise the level of public debate and understanding of the EU among its citizens?
  • What were the positive sides and the mistakes of “YES” and “NO” campaigns?
  • What politicians/policy makers need to learn from the experience of European referenda, especially in the light of the forthcoming EP elections?
  • What impact will the last referenda have on the EP elections’ turn out?
  • What are pros and cons of a referendum? Is a referendum a good tool to discuss complicated European issues, like e.g. treaties on a package of institutional and policy reforms?
  • What impact will the referenda have on the future of European integration?
13:30 – 15:00Lunch
15:00 – 17:30Parallel Workshops
16:00 – 16:15Coffee break

You can freely choose one workshop of your preference.

A. Getting European citizens on board (political workshop)
Chair: Renato Mannheimer (IT), Universita of Milano – Bicocca
Key note speeches:
  • Dominique Reynié (FR), Sciences Po
  • István György Tóth (HU), TARKI Social Research Institute
  • Olivier Costa (FR), National Centre for Scientific Research, Sciences Po Bordeaux
  1. Jacqueline Hénard (DE), journaliste allemande, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  2. Tatyana Burudzhieva-Vaniotis (BG), Department of political Science, University of Sofia
  3. Irina Stanciugelu (RO), College of Communication and Public Relations, State University of Political and Administrative Science
  4. Guillaume Klossa (FR), Speacial Adviser to Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, responsible for European Affairs
  5. Lennart Nilsson (SE), Center for Public Research, Society Opinion Media, Gothenburg University

Reporter: Laurence Amand Eeckhout, Directorate General Communication

The level of participation combined with the extent to which the EP elections are fought on European polices can act as a measure of the extent of the challenge leaders face in creating a European public sphere. The period of time preceding the election campaign provides a great opportunity for reinforcing communication with the European citizens, giving them full and comprehensive information about the European Union and involving them in a permanent dialogue. Since the majority of EU citizens feel that they have limited influence on the decision-making at EU level, there is still a gap to be filled in. The forthcoming European Parliamentary elections should be not only an important political event, but also a pan-European public debate on tomorrow's Europe. In order to make the elections important for the citizens, the campaigns need to have both political relevancy as well as issues to deliberate.

Other relevant subjects should be discussed:

  1. How to explore more deeply the opinion polls, especially how to – before the EP elections – “translate” the opinion polling results into a communication strategy? How to use conclusions from opinion polls to best identify and address factors influencing the turnout in the EP elections?
  2. How the European elections experience can be used in developing a European public sphere? How to “measure” a European public sphere?
  3. How to approach national debates and how to build a European debate in the run-up to the 2009 EP elections?
B. A Better EB for a better understanding the citizens' needs (methodological workshop)
Chair: Adam Phillips (UK) – Professional Standards Committee, ESOMAR
Key note speeches:
  • Femke de Keulenaer (BE), Gallup Europe
  • Bill Blyth (UK), TNS Political and Science
  • Nick Moon (UK), GfK NOP Social Research
  1. Alison Park (UK), National Centre for Social Research
  2. Peter Mohler (DE), Director of the Centre for Survey Research and Methodology, Mannheim
  3. Ilias Nicalacopoulos (EL) – University of Athens
  4. Patten Smith (UK), Ipsos Mori

Reporter: Ariane Debyser, Directorate General Communication

The main aim of the workshop is to discuss the methodological challenges that Eurobarometer must overcome. One of the central topics will be a discussion on sampling issues. Due to the mobile phone expansion, many EU citizens have given up their fixed-line connections. The rapidly growing “mobile-only” population is causing serious methodological consequences for surveys carried out by telephone.

Afterwards, the deliberative polling experience will be discussed.

This workshop will aim to find answers to some of the persisting challenges:

  • How to challenge the present methodological challenges: sampling mobile phones, quota sampling, etc.?
  • What additional methodologies could improve EB?
  • How to optimise EB (secondary use of raw data, exploring comparative surveys).
  • What are the pros and cons of deliberative polling and citizens consultations?
17:45 – 18:15Conclusions
Closing Panel:
  • Claus Sørensen (DK), Director-General Directorate General Communication European Commission
  • Chairs of the workshop

The moderators that have chaired the different workshops will present the draft conclusions of their workshop – each workshop should have come up with a short list of specific suggestions and/ or ideas. The presentations will be forwarded by a general discussion with all participants based on the following tentative structure:

Lesson learned from European referenda

  • List of proposals of recommendation on the European communication policy with due regard to the upcoming European elections.

Getting European citizens on board

  • List of proposals for approaching national debates with a view to developing European Public Sphere, with special focus on the 2009 EP-elections
  • List of proposals aiming to increase turnout in the European Parliament Elections

Better EB for better understanding the citizens' needs

  • List of specific proposals on improving the standard/trend questions/methodologies of Eurobarometer
  • Suggestion on whether to incorporate deliberative polling into Eurobarometer methodologies
  • List of proposals on improving dissemination of research results (highlighting the added value of cooperation between politicians, the network of experts, European institutions and Member States)

The closing remarks will be drawn by Claus Sørensen, who will also present the Commission's plans for the forthcoming period 2008/2009. Moreover, a provisional decision/proposal should be announced concerning the organisation of a conference on EB in 2009.

Saturday, 22nd November 2008

09.00 – 10.00Registration and welcome coffee
10.00 – 12:30Youth takes the floor
Chair: Jean-Charles Lagrée (FR), National Centre for Scientific research, visiting Scholars Shanghai Academy of Social Science
  1. Susanne Johansson (SE), Gothenburg University
  2. Mana Livardjani, Cafebabel Brussels
  3. Jessica Chamba (FR/DE), JEF Europe, the French European Movement
  4. Imola Streho (FR), Sciences Po
  5. Dominique Reynié (FR), Sciences Po

Reporter: David Voidies, Directorate General Communication

The second day of the conference will be given to young people – students of Sciences Po and other European universities. The aim of this session is to give young people an opportunity to share their attitudes towards Europe’s future – to speak out for Europe, by presenting the results of their own studies or referring the results of Eurobarometer studies.

The topic of the session is open in order to attract the widest selection of papers, besides the fact that all papers should be based on Eurobarometer surveys and data. Each speaker will give a ten minute presentation of his/her paper after. Following the presentations, the panelists and conference attendees can give their input. Papers presented at the conference will be published on Eurobarometer website.

12:30 – 13:00General conclusions of the conference

The conference will be closed by Panayotis Carvounis (Deputy Director General of DG COMM/EC) who will also present the general conclusions drawn from the conference.