About Project Situation Room

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


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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 Situation Room 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 Situation Room 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 on public surveys in all six countries. These focus on what people see as the priorities for an open society, and monitors preferred trade-off between open society values, such as security rather than individual freedom.

Getting heard

Working with a network of think-tankers and researchers in six countries, the Situation Room project is scheduled to produce regular analysis until December 2018, including opinion pieces, and shorter surveys on themes like young people and civil rights that are the basis of in-depth reports from each country. A final insight paper is planned that will seek to present an overall conclusion.