Trust in European institutions


Eurobarometer, processed by Statistics Flanders


In the Eurobarometer, the following question is posed concerning the European institutions: “Can you tell us whether you have trust or distrust in these European institutions?” The question can be answered with: tend to trust, tend to distrust or don’t know.

Remarks on quality

The Eurobarometer is used to evaluate trust in the European institutions. Since 1973, the European Commission has been conducting opinion polls, the so-called Eurobarometer surveys (EB), to remain informed on the opinions of the inhabitants of the European Union (EU). These surveys examine, among other things, satisfaction with the life they lead, their expectations, things that preoccupy them, their attitude towards Europe and European institutions, etc.

The Standard Eurobarometer is conducted every year in the spring and autumn and covers the EU population aged 15 and over. The 2020 and 2021 editions were postponed from spring to summer due to the COVID-19 crisis. All interviews are conducted face-to-face at the respondent’s home in his/her native language. In all countries, the sample design is multi-stage and random. There is in principle one sample area for each country of the EU, except for Germany that is divided into East and West. The aim is to hold 1,000 interviews in each sample area, except in Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta (500). The sample is weighted, depending on the population figures for each sample area.

The Flemish Region can be represented from 2 angles: either via the language in which the interview is held (Dutch speakers) or via the NUTS 1 classification based on the place of residence (Flemish Region). Here we work with respondents who live in the Flemish Region. That number fluctuates around 550 out of a total of 1,000 for Belgium.

In addition to a number of recurring background variables and questions, the Standard Eurobarometer contains one or more variable modules (Special Eurobarometer) on a more in-depth theme, such as the future of Europe.

The time at which the data becomes available for (secondary) analyses differs from module to module. The first data can, in principle, be obtained a couple of months after the fieldwork. The other figures are only available when the embargo is lifted. To find out when the embargo is lifted, please consult the website ( The embargo is lifted after the data have been analysed within Europe.

The data files are available for research institutions free of charge from ‘ZA Central Archive for Empirical Social Research, University of Cologne’.

Accessibility to the questionnaires, codebooks and publications with the results is as high as possible. Everything can be downloaded free of charge via the internet (

Comparison between all the EU Member States is possible because the same questionnaire and methodology are, in principle, used by the national research agencies.


European Commission: Eurobarometer

GESIS: Eurobarometer


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