Towards a new era of representative democracy - Activating European Citizens’ Trust in Times of Crises and Polarization


The ActEU project investigates the decline of political trust and legitimacy in Europe. It focuses on the interactions between citizens’ political attitudes, their political participation and the representation of their policy preferences.

This 3 year project (March 2023-February 2026) is funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon Europe programme (Research and Innovation Actions).

schéma décrivant les objectifs principaux du projet ActEU

project Objectives

The ActEU project first aims at mapping and investigating persistent problems of declining trust, legitimacy and representation in Europe with a particular attention to the polarization of societies on key policy issues of our times –immigration, climate change, and gender inequality– and the EU’s multi-level system of governance.

The research methods range from descriptive analyses of publicly available data sets (all EU member states + additional countries wherever necessary), qualitative focus group discussions (Czechia, France, Germany and Greece), to quantitative survey experiments and web-scraping techniques (Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain).

Based on those empirical findings, the other major aim of ActEU is to develop a toolbox of context-sensitive remedial actions to enhance political trust in and legitimacy of European representative democracies. In cooperation with a newly created civil society network, Youth Democracy Labs across 13 European cities, and in exchange with political cartoonists “Cartooning for democracy”, two toolkits will be developed for (1) European, national, regional and local policymakers, and (2) civil society and the educational sector.

Sciences Po team

●    Laura Morales, Professor, Sciences Po, CEE (Principal Investigator)
●    Yuma Ando, Statistician, CNRS, CEE
●    Jens Cartens, PhD Candidate, Sciences Po, CEE
●    Chiao Li, PhD Candidate, Sciences Po, CEE
●    Anja Durovic, Associate Researcher, CEE & Post-doctoral Researcher, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Centre Emile Durkheim
●    Luis Ramiro, Associate Researcher, CEE & Associate Professor, UNED, Spain
●    Sylvain Brouard, FNSP Research Professor, CEVIPOF
●    Olivier Costa, CNRS Research Professor, CEVIPOF
●    Samuel Hayat, CNRS Research Fellow, CEVIPOF
●    Patrick Le Bihan, Assistant Professor, Sciences Po, CEVIPOF


Eleven institutions from across Europe form the consortium led by the the universities of Duisburg-Essen and of Saarland (Germany): Trans European Policy Studies Association, Sciences Po (France), Åbo Akademi University (Finland), Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria), Université Catholique de Lille (France), University of Oviedo (Spain), Institute of International Relations Prague (Czechia), SWPS University (Poland), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Universitá Degli Studi di Trento (Italy).

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