News archive - Updates on the European Social Survey in South East Europe

Since 2015, there has been an increase in Western Balkan involvement in the European Social Survey (ESS).

The ESS is a general social survey that operates across the European Research Area (ERA). Every two years, it asks over 200 questions of the population in up to 30 countries to monitor their attitudes and behavior. This allows academics, researchers, students and policy makers to make comparisons of attitudes and behavior, both between countries and over time. Founded in 2001, the initial survey was undertaken in 22 countries - mainly in western Europe - during 2002/03.

The ESS became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in 2013, meaning that it is a self-sufficient entity, funded by all participating countries. In 2016, it became acknowledged as a European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) landmark project. The ESS ERIC is administered to representative samples of the population in each country aged 15 and over. The main questionnaire includes topics such as trust in people and institutions, political participation, attitudes to immigration, democracy, health and well-being. In each round, rotating modules are designed by teams of researchers from across Europe. Topics in these modules have focused on climate change and energy, welfare, ageism, income fairness and crime and justice.

All the data collected in over 425,000 in person interviews is made available for anyone to view or download for free, embodying the principle of open science. There are over 140,000 registered users of the data and almost 4,000 academic publications have analysed the data. The data has been used extensively for teaching across Europe and the findings have had a significant policy impact and regularly appear in the media.

The first edition of  Round 9 data - collected in 19 countries during late 2018 and early 2019 - was published in October 2019. The data includes results from Bulgaria and Serbia, who participated for the first time, whilst data from Albania, Croatia and Montenegro will be available following the second release in May 2020.

After the success of Round 9, the official launch of the 10th round began in June 2019, with fieldwork due to be conducted in late 2020 and early 2021.

In November 2019, the ESS ERIC National Coordinators’ Forum took place in Belgrade where the preparations for Round 10 were discussed. A new Horizon 2020 Project was introduced, ESS-SUSTAIN-2, which aims to create sustainability through structural strengthening of the ESS and by future proofing the infrastructure. The ESS is not seeking this European Commission funding to keep it afloat, an approach unlikely to yield long-term sustainability, rather to provide a vital helping hand to help complete the transition into a research infrastructure that is financially sound and scientifically equipped for the future. By developing links with the European Values Survey, establishing global partners, engaging with policy makers, harnessing technology to improve efficiency and reduce costs and launching the world’s first probability-based online panel, this proposal will provide the strongest possible foundation to succeed in the years ahead.

Under ESS-SUSTAIN-2, the Institute of Social Sciences in Serbia will coordinate exchanges amongst South East Europe countries and facilitate sustainable participation of the countries in the region. In April 2020, there will be a meeting where regional representatives will discuss the preparations of a South East Europe conference to be held in Montenegro where analysis of the data will be showcased.

For more information, visit

Author: Stefan Swift, Communication Officer ESS

Geographical focus
  • SEE
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Social Sciences

Entry created by Marie Croce on December 12, 2019
Modified on December 12, 2019