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Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Research helping citizens and citizens helping research: Behind the EU&I project

The online application EU&I, with its 30 questions mapping the European political space, was completed by 850,000 users in just 30 days. The team responsible for placing political parties across all EU member states consisted of more than 150 political scientists from 27 countries.

08 July 2024 | Research

An overhead view of a large crowd gathered around a giant European Union flag. The crowd appears diverse, and the scene is framed with pixelised elements, a characteristic of the brand identity of EU&I.

Launched on 9 May 2024, the EU&I questionnaire allowed users to seek alignment with political parties ahead of the European Parliament elections by answering 30 questions on issues that are relevant in the current political debate. The research team supported by communication colleagues also offered analysis on topics such as polarisation, migration, security, economics and energy, through the publication of blogs and videos.

EU&I exists since 2009 and has gone through four rounds of European elections, increasing its reach over time. This time the research team mapped a total of 290 between parties (284) and candidates (6 Irish independents).

The project is important not only because it offers citizens an evidence-based and neutral tool to make their parties’ choices, but also because it generates scientific data for researchers and practitioners studying political parties and elections. To this respect, it is a highly relevant tool for political science research, fed by citizens filling the questionnaire.

The data collected over four election cycles provide scientists with comparable measures of party positions across European party systems. In the coming months they will be able to analyse and assess the evolution of positions between 2009 and 2024 in EU Member States.

The statements of the questionnaire are linked to broader political dimensions (e.g. liberal versus conservative values), capturing potential shifts in the ideological profiles of European political parties over time. “The new party position dataset, expected to be published in early 2025, builds on the existing three-wave dataset that was compiled after the previous EP election”, said Lorenzo Cicchi, coordinator of the project. “We believe that this 15-year-long initiative will foster high-quality research in the field of party politics and provide a clearer picture of the European political space”.

“The project also builds on the successful applications developed between 2021 and 2023 for national elections in Germany, France, Italy, Estonia, and Slovakia”, added Andres Reiljan, EU&I project co-leader. “This continued effort highlights our commitment to enhancing democratic participation and providing citizens with the tools they need to engage meaningfully in the electoral process”.

The 2024 edition of EU&I attracted significant media attention, especially in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Estonia. In countries such as France and Spain, the application was supported by content creators on social media, highlighting the project’s innovative approach to reach citizens from different generations.

Related reading: Article on the most polarising and consensual issues in EU politics based on preliminary data from EU&I 2024: Which issues unite and polarize EU parties and voters?

For more information, please visit the EU&I Website.

Last update: 08 July 2024

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