Published August 31, 2023 | Version 1.0
Working paper Open

How citizens understand European social citizenship: deepening quantitative survey results with focus group analysis


Deepening quantitative survey questions through focus group discussions can shine a light on the deeper understandings of individuals about social citizenship, and also demonstrate how ambivalent and multidimensional attitudes are about such social citizenship in Europe.

This paper presents the methodology, the research process and preliminary findings from a series of focus group discussions on the future of European social citizenship that were conducted over the course of 2022 in four European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain, involving a total of 134 participants. Importantly, as part of the focus groups, we also collected quantitative survey evidence via a short questionnaire handed out to participants before the discussion, allowing us to compare our qualitative data with quantitative evidence.

The focus groups covered three topical areas: 1) support for government redistribution broadly understood (and different meanings thereof), 2) the relationship between the national and EU levels in financing and providing social policy, and 3) inequalities in access to social rights and how to address them. To summarize the core findings of our preliminary analysis: Focus group participants were generally supportive of strengthening the social dimension of the EU (as quantitative surveys have also shown), but the qualitative data also revealed a significant degree of skepticism regarding the ability of the EU in dealing with the current series of large-scale crises. Participants also noted persistent inequalities in accessing social rights, which appear to be correlated to socio-economic status. A main driving force of these inequalities is likely to be a prevailing information deficit, in particular regarding the initiatives of the EU in the social domain.


D6.3 Eick et al_.pdf

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EUSOCIALCIT – The Future of European Social Citizenship 870978
European Commission