The covid-19 pandemic has proved that Euro- pean societies are inescapably connected: We share risks at an economic, health, political, or environmental level as well as solutions such as vaccines or the NextGeneration economic rescue package, whose ultimate aspiration is not limited to saving national economies but seeks to create a powerful European economic tool for the next decades.
Even the word of the year, pan-demic, means in classical Greek “all” (pan) + “the society / the peo- ple” (demic/demos). And the demos we belong to (which is also in the word demo-cracy, power of the people) is definitely an European one.
And an European society demands an European platform for social analysis, a network of Europe- an social research companies.
This platform will have a privileged relationship with the media, which will contribute to broad- cast studies and analysis to the public opinion and thus to stimulate the debate around issues.
Each research company can contribute with a cooperation agreement with a major newspaper or media from its own country. The transnational alliance will thus contribute to creating an infor- mative field for analysis, allowing newspapers, tv networks and online media to compare social trends throughout Europe. In turn, this will en- rich the knowledge we have of our own societies while revealing common trends.
This twin research and media network will allow us:
- To have more information on public opinion surveys and studies, shared among the participating com- panies.
- To enrich our approaches, allowing simultaneous comparisons focused on the same issues.
- To expand the cooperating networks of European social research, stimulating not only the exchange of information but also the cooperation between analysts and experts from different backgrounds and with a diverse expertise.
- To promote the exchange of professional experiences through stays of social researchers who will work during a term at the business headquarters of companies from other participating countries, as a kind of professional and senior Erasmus.
- To expand the network’s social and political influence capacity, becoming a trusted source of infor- mation on matters that concern the whole of Europe, especially with regards to European institutions, lobbies, stakeholders, and society as a whole.
- To explore innovative ways for the commercial exploitation of content resulting from the creation of the platform. Resources are shared, opportunities are maximized.
BEYOND THE EUROBAROMETER: AN INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE
Due to its institutional nature, the Eurobarometer does not address current topics of interest such as popularity of leaders of the European institu- tions (for example, the President of the Commis- sion, Commissioners, the Eurogroup or the Presi- dent of the Europarliament), or the political action of the institutions (for example, in the negotiation with pharma companies for the purchase of vac- cines).
Nor does it conduct surveys on the specific po– litical action of European political parties, the different national governments in relation to EU issues, or any other questions that may generate debate or be of interest.
The alliance is therefore based on two premises that distinguish it from the Eurobarometer and make it useful:
- It is private and independent, which is of the utmost importance when it comes to help shaping a free public opinion, with access to knowledge not monitored by political institu- tions.
- Consequently, it will cover topics not included in the Eurobarometer and, above all, from a non-partisan perspective that will prioritize free and public information over political commitments.
THE OVERCOMING OF BARRIERS THANKS TO INNOVATION
Social research has shown its ability to over- come physical, political and cultural barriers.
Through various international experiences it has been able to consolidate a European public opin- ion through debate and the exchange of ideas; to promote the exchange of content between the media; and to create, develop, and share techno- logical knowledge.
Undoubtedly, the different languages of the Euro- pean melting pot are a cultural wealth and also a challenge when it comes to share information. But digitization and its tools have helped over- coming this barrier, making translations faster
and more reliable and in the process making transnational contents accessible.
Thus, the social research alliance and its part- nership with news outlets will have a powerful digital, innovative element, relying both on Ar- tificial Intelligence, Big Data, and broadcasting cloud-based technologies.
- Fixed part: Definition of indicators at the European level that represent demographic interests: popu-larity of the decisions of the European Commission and Europarliament. Degree of knowledge and as- sesment of European leaders (presidency of the commission, different commissioners, etc). Projection of elections to the European Parliament. Popularity of national leaders (ranking).
- Variable part: depending on the situation, it will include questions on certain issues that affect the en- tire European Community (approval of Economic Rescue Package, vaccination policy, border closure, migration crisis, etc.).FLASH POLLS:
■ By mutual agreement, and according to a pre-established fast-tracked decision-making mechanism, “flash surveys” can be launched to radiograph the EU’s response to a specific problem: for example, decision to close borders within the Schengen Space as response to a sudden health, migration, or terrorism crisis.
■ Each social research company and media will launch their national polls according to their electoral cal- endar and thus providing the entire network with updated information on the political situation in the EU.
SOCIAL ANALYSIS (CONTINUOUS)
- A panel of experts, journalists and sociologists, would generate articles and texts can be shared (trans- lated and published) by the entire media network.
- Regular operation: Given that there are 27 EU countries, within a network consisting of 27 research com- panies members, a rotation of 2-3 articles of analysis per month on certain topics could be established. Thus, at the end of the year, texts of all members will have been published in the associated press.
- Additional and optional content: each member can share, whenever they want, a specific piece of con- tent (about a national survey, for example), and the rest of the members can decide whether or not to publish it, depending on their availability, interest, etc.
- Alliances can be forged with media outlets or communication agencies from other non-EU areas, allow- ing contents to be acquired and published by other media (in the US, the NYT or Washington Post, etc.).
- At the end of each year, a special yearbook can be published in various formats, with a summary of the published studies and analyzes.