The Eurobarometer as a Source of Information on European Society
Eurobarometer studies – public opinion surveys conducted in European Union member states and candidate countries – have been organized for over thirty years. Eurobarometer encompasses various types of studies which are designed based on the need to gather information from various target groups of varying response times and comprehensiveness.
The quantitative studies are:
Standard Eurobarometer and Special Eurobarometer carried out among citizens of the European Union aged 15 years and up. The use of trend questions allows changes in the opinions of inhabitants to be analyzed over time.
Flash EBs are surveys conducted by telephone which elicit the opinions of the target groups – population, entrepreneurs, young people, and so on – in an efficient manner. Studies where Estonia was included focused on topics related to the euro, the European constitution, and elections to European Parliament among others.
Candidate Countries Eurobarometer (CCEB) was organized from 2001–2004 (spring) and allowed a glimpse into pre-accession opinions and attitudes.
In addition, Eurobarometer qualitative studies are also carried out, which often help to supplement quantitative surveys or design new ones. In Estonia, all surveys are conducted by TNS Emor, part of the TNS chain of pollsters. Survey results are published on the European Commission website: http://europa.European Union.int/comm/public_opinion/.
The article also provides a brief overview of the results of Eurobarometer, comparing how satisfied Estonians and Europeans are with life (on average, Estonians are less satisfied than Europeans with various areas of life, but they are more positive regarding the economic development of the state), how they see themselves as European citizens (prior to accession, Estonians felt less connected to Europe than did other Europeans, there was also less pride felt over being European) and sports preferences (Estonia is part of the bottom third of European countries in terms of sports activity), as well as briefly listing Estonians’ positions with regard to the European Union after the first half-year as a member state.