Jürgen Hofrichter
The EUROBAROMETER Programme of the EC Commission; ZEUS, and the EUROBAROMETER Data Base

ISSN: 0948-0102

The Eurobarometer programme of the Commission of the European Community is a unique programme of cross-national and cross-temporal social science research. Eurobarometer surveys are regular surveys with an identical set of questions in all member states of the European Community since 1974. ZEUS, Zentrum für Europäische Umfrageanalysen und Studien, is a research institute at the University of Mannheim associated with the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research. ZEUS has established and hosts the Eurobarometer data base system and carries out secondary analyses with the data base. Eurobarometer public opinion surveys are conducted on behalf of the Directorate General Audio-Visual, Information, Communication, Culture (DG X) of the European Commission. The responsibility for Eurobarometer is in the hands of the "Surveys, Research, Analyses (SRA) unit" at DG X in Brussels. Recently, the Eurobarometer programme has been enlarged by introducing new versions of Eurobarometer surveys, i.e. Flash studies and Eurobarometer surveys in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Eurobarometer survey programme has been launched and managed by Jacques-René Rabier with co-operation of Ronald Inglehart until the end of 1986, when Karlheinz Reif took over as head of the "Survey, Research, Analyses" unit. Three European Community studies were the predecessors of Eurobarometer surveys, in 1970 and 1971 in the six member countries and in 1973 in the then nine member countries. In 1974, the bi-annual Eurobarometer surveys were launched as a programme to monitor social and political orientations in the Community member states. Since then, representative national samples of the public in all EC member countries were interviewed each Spring and each Autumn up to the recent Eurobarometer No 39 in Spring 1993. Eurobarometer data thus provide information on the development of public opinion in the Community of Six since 1970 (Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands) and the Community of Nine since 1973 (entry of Denmark, Ireland and The United Kingdom). Eurobarometer surveys have included Greece since Autumn 1980, Portugal and Spain since Autumn 1985 and the former German Democratic Republic from Autumn 1990 onwards.