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Top research and civil society associations dispatch open letter to plea for the establishment of an extraordinary multi-disciplinary expert group.

ESOMAR - The world association for market, social and opinion research, together with 8 associations representing civil society and research, has dispatched an open letter calling on the European Union (EU) institutions to redouble efforts towards more citizen-centric and evidence-based policy- making using opinion and social research to assess and evaluate possible future scenarios after the Brexit referendum.

“In order to support and guide any upcoming negotiations with the UK and future EU decision-making process, it is now more critical than ever before to conduct extensive research into the will, and aspirations of the European electorate,” highlights Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR, author of the open letter. 

The letter highlights the importance of establishing a true and comprehensive understanding of citizen needs and aspirations both in the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU and underlines the role that research can play in uncovering how to better communicate with constituencies about the complex and long-term issues facing Europe. The signatories are calling the European institutions to take these following steps:

1. Establish a cross-party and multi-disciplinary expert group composed of academics, experts from research and civil society organisations, and representatives of the EU institutions,  to consider the implications of the referendum.

2. Issue a call for tender to conduct comprehensive and wide-ranging social research by researchers that abide to the principles of accepted codes of conduct governing market, opinion, and social research.

3. Work with the expert group to evaluate and build possible strategies to follow through on the referendum, and even, to formulate possible negotiation strategies (for both sides) on implementing Brexit.

“This initiative, supported by 9 associations, underlines the broad support from both the research community and European civil society to understand more systemically why Europe is failing to inspire its citizenry, what it needs to do to reconnect with all its constituencies.  We have to go beyond business as usual and only Brussels can take that first step to position research to help it tackle that disillusion,” adds Kim Smouter, Head of Public Affairs and Professional Standards at ESOMAR.

The open letter is to be supported by a #CitizensFirst social media campaign, individuals and organisations wishing to support the key recommendations of the Open letter can formally register their support by visiting ESOMAR’s website where the open letter and a form to register support has been setup. The webpage is located at: http://www.esomar.org/citizensfirst

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