Europe, and more specifically the European Union, is becoming an increasingly important setting for the Netherlands. The Dutch increasingly have to take account of European agreements, and there is a growing need for comparisons with other European countries. More and more data, both institutional statistical information and data collected through international surveys, are available to facilitate these comparisons.
SCP makes comparisons in all kinds of areas: income distribution, welfare state arrangements, neighbourhood safety, the extent of and background to participation, the quality of public services, etc.. These comparisons are generally based on literature studies and databases. Today, SCP also frequently collaborates in international research projects funded by the European Union.
Much of the 'hard' demographic and economic data on Europe is collected by EuroStat. The Eurobarometer is a project sponsored by the European Commission which measures public opinion in the European Union and the candidate member states at regular intervals. The results are published every six months. Research on Europe and the European Union is carried out across the academic world. One institute worthy of note is the European University Institute in Florence, which conducts a great deal of research in the economics, political science, sociology, law and history disciplines. UACES, the University Association for Contemporary European Studies, is an important forum where researchers and policymakers come together.
Research at SCP
The European Union is a subject of study for the Participation, Culture and Living Environment research sector. The central plank of the research is public opinion about the European Union. Attention is also devoted to the Europeanisation of civil-society organisations and the emergence of a European civil society. Other SCP research sectors are also concerned with Europe; in fact, almost every policy domain today has a European dimension.