About Voices on Values

A joint project of the Open Soci­ety Euro­pean Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (OSEPI) and d|part

A vari­ety of soci­etal changes chal­lenge our views of open soci­ety prin­ci­ples. They include the dis­sat­is­fac­tion with con­ven­tion­al pol­i­tics expressed by pop­ulist par­ties; increased con­cerns over secu­ri­ty and immi­gra­tion; nation­al­ism and unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­cy changes pro­mot­ed by the media and endorsed by the pub­lic at large. Civ­il soci­ety groups and pol­i­cy-mak­ers are mobil­is­ing to defend an open soci­ety, yet many dis­agree about what it actu­al­ly means.

Aim of the Voic­es on Val­ues project

To help civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions along with nation­al and EU-lev­el polit­i­cal actors, as well as the wider pub­lic, respond to these pro­found polit­i­cal dis­rup­tions, the Voic­es on Val­ues project seeks to under­stand what dri­ves the chang­ing dis­course about open soci­eties and the mech­a­nisms that can be used to strength­en them. It puts the spot­light on six coun­tries: Ger­many and France in North-west­ern Europe, Hun­gary and Poland in East­ern Europe, and Italy and Greece in the Mediterranean.

In each of these coun­tries, researchers have been explor­ing the rela­tion­ship between four areas: pol­i­cy; com­mu­ni­ca­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion; the response of civ­il soci­ety; and pub­lic atti­tudes. The project focus­es on the com­plex and dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between these areas, such as how pol­i­cy changes affect polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, how this in turn affects pub­lic opin­ion, and how civ­il soci­ety can respond to chang­ing law and attitudes.


This research is based on inter­views with deci­sion-mak­ers and civ­il soci­ety lead­ers and pub­lic sur­veys con­duct­ed across all six coun­tries. In these we asked peo­ple across Europe about the impor­tance of val­ues asso­ci­at­ed with open soci­eties, such as free­dom of expres­sion, press free­dom and the free­dom of reli­gion, and through an exper­i­men­tal sur­vey design test­ed to what extent people’s eval­u­a­tions are robust. 

Get­ting heard

Work­ing with a net­work of think-tankers and researchers in six coun­tries, the Voic­es on Val­ues project pro­duces reg­u­lar analy­sis, includ­ing opin­ion pieces and short­er data-based arti­cles on themes like young peo­ple and civ­il rights that are the basis of in-depth reports from each coun­try. Addi­tion­al­ly, in Feb­ru­ary 2019 six indi­vid­ual coun­try reports, as well as three reports on the project’s more gen­er­al find­ings will be published.