Fundamental Rights Survey


The Fundamental Rights Survey will collect comparable data concerning people’s experiences of and opinions on fundamental rights issues in the EU. The survey will focus on situations which people in the EU face in their everyday lives – from a fundamental rights perspective – which can range from data protection to equal treatment, access to justice, consumer rights and good administration. This data will be collected in a single survey for the first time, which 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 across the EU Member States.

The first data collection for the Fundamental Rights Survey will take place in 2017 in the EU-28, with a plan to repeat the survey every 5+ years to produce EU-wide comparable trend data on fundamental rights in the form of key indicators. The survey will be composed of a core set of questions – to be repeated over time – and additional modules which can rotate from one survey round to the next, and which can be used to focus on a certain topic(s) in more depth.


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 and is often not repeated at regular intervals. In order to fill this gap, FRA is embarking on the development of the fundamental rights survey instrument to collect EU-wide data on key fundamental rights issues – through a single survey tool. Regular repetition of the survey will allow for the presentation of data on trends in fundamental rights over time.

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 working on issues related to fundamental rights. The fundamental rights indicators developed as a part of the survey will assist in assessing progress in the EU over time with respect to the realisation of rights.


In 2015-2016 FRA will develop the survey tools and the survey methodology. In the process FRA will consult various stakeholders to collect their inputs and needs for the survey. This input can be used to ensure that the collected data is relevant for policy makers and processes in the EU, and for identifying and avoiding areas of potential overlap with respect to the work of and data collection by other organisations.

In 2015 FRA will carry out a feasibility study that tests different ways of implementing the survey, including the use of different data collection modes (such as face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews or web-based data collection). Part of the feasibility study will be to test the effect of using different modes, using a combination of survey data collection and cognitive interviews.

The large-scale survey data collection will take place in 2017, and the results will be presented in 2018 through a range of outputs, including an interactive online data explorer and reports.