The European integration project is a globally and historically unique project facing multiple challenges. From May to October 2018, all citizens of the EU member states were invited to participate in a Citizens' Dialogue on the Future of Europe to debate the issues. In Germany, both the Federal Government and its cooperation partners in civil society used this opportunity to solicit direct, personal feedback from citizens within the framework of structured dialogue civic participation events.
A total of more than 100 dialogue events were held in Germany between May and October 2018. These outputs provided the basis for the dialogue evaluation and analysis by Kantar Public on behalf of the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government in Germany.
The approach drew on software-based and automated text mining approaches to analyse very large volumes of research content. This process, which applies a unique combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence based on deep expertise, ensures a high degree of scientific objectivity and transparency.
The findings from this Citizens' Dialogue provided a new understanding of how citizens experience Europe in their daily lives, how they perceive the role of Europe from a German perspective, and their view on what the future of Europe should be, with specific insights emerging from selected population groups.
The approach revealed a marked overall desire for greater European integration and cooperation in response to the current political and societal challenges. Positive perceptions of Europe prevailed in most of the topics discussed, with negative references limited to the context of minimising Europe's weaknesses, including in migration and refugee policy where citizens felt that urgent action was needed.