You are here:

Report / Paper / Summary

Publication date:24 June 2020

What do rights mean for people in the EU? - Fundamental Rights Survey

FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey collected data from 35,000 people about their experiences, perceptions and opinions on a range of issues that are variously encompassed by human rights. This report presents a small selection of the survey results. It focuses on findings with respect to respondents’ opinions about human – or fundamental – rights; their views and perceptions on the functioning of democratic societies – as a pillar on which human rights can flourish; and on their thoughts on and engagement with public services that have a duty to enforce human rights law and to protect people’s rights.


The Fundamental Rights Survey will provide for the first time a comprehensive set of comparable data concerning people’s experiences and opinions concerning the way their fundamental rights are protected. The survey focuses on situations which people in the EU face in their everyday lives, in areas ranging from data protection to equal treatment, access to justice, consumer rights, crime victimisation, good administration and the importance of protecting rights.

Addressing these topics in a single survey allows for the identification of gaps in the realisation of rights, rights awareness and service provision across a broad range of rights – as people experience them. The data collection for the Survey will take place in 2019 in the 28 EU Member States and North Macedonia.


There is a lack of comparable and robust data on most fundamental rights areas as regards the experiences of the general population. Data that are currently available – either from administrative sources or existing surveys in diverse subject areas – do not capture the full range of people’s everyday experiences as they relate to fundamental rights, and are often focused on collecting information on attitudes. At the same time, data collection in key fundamental rights areas is not systematic across all EU Member States.

The results of the survey will feed into policy discussions concerning fundamental rights, and are intended to support EU and national policy makers when making decisions about future legislation and resource allocation based on collection of evidence on the ground. The main beneficiaries of the results of the survey include EU institutions, EU Member States, international organisations and civil society organisations working to ensure respect and promotion of fundamental rights. The fundamental rights indicators developed as a part of the survey will assist in assessing progress in the EU with respect to the realisation of rights.


The full-scale survey data collection will take place in 2019, and the results will be presented through a range of outputs starting in 2020 to ensure that the collected data is relevant for policy makers and processes in the EU. FRA aims to communicate results for selected indicators at the end of 2019. Ipsos MORI will colllect the data on behalf of FRA, in cooperation with Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the Netherlands, the Centre des Technologies de l'Information de l'Etat (CTIE) in Luxembourg and Statistics Austria in Austria.

In the process of developing the survey, FRA has consulted various stakeholders to collect their inputs and needs for the survey. The Agency has also consulted survey methodology experts to inform the design of the survey.

In 2015-2016 FRA carried out background research to further develop survey methods that meet the needs of the Agency when collecting data on the general population of the EU. The survey design – which involves a combination of face-to-face and online data collection, as appropriate in each country – was piloted in 2017. After adjusting the survey design based on the pilots, the Agency started to prepare the full-scale data collection in 2018, which will be completed by the third quarter of 2019.