At the culmination of the project, EnTrust produced a series of short documentaries to highlight our main findings about the forms, determinants and consequences of trust and distrust in governance, as well as to give a voice to various research participants.

The seven short documentaries, produced together with filmmaker Camille Delbos, feature EnTrust researchers, public officials, institutional representatives, civil society and social movements activists, and individual citizens from 12 countries who discuss the different topics tackled by the project. The teaser of the documentary series was presented during the EnTrust Final Conference on 10th January 2024 at the European Parliament.

You can find the playlist of the videos in the EnTrust Youtube channel.

Discover the videos below:

  • Theoretical and Normative Underpinnings of Trust & Distrust in governance: In this video, researchers and civil society representatives discuss the role of institutional trust in democracies and present the concept of ‘enlightened trust’.
  • Trust and Distrust at the Street-level of Public Policy: This video presents core findings from EnTrust’s research about trust and distrust dynamics in the social service provision. It gives voice to researchers, social service workers, public administrations and civil society organisations representing the users’ interests.
  • The Role of Democratic Social Movements in the Formation of Trust & Distrust: In this video, democratic social movements are analysed as alternative arenas of political participation when citizens withdraw from institutional politics. It discusses whether social movements can mobilise citizens’ distrust in institutions and make productive use of it.
  • The Role of the Media in Trust and Distrust Building: This documentary video discusses the role of the media and journalism in building trust and distrust in governance, science, and the media. It addresses key challenges of public communication in the digital age, including the spread of disinformation and threats to press freedom.
  • Developmental-psychological Insights Into Trust and Distrust: This documentary gives voice to experts and young people on the evolution of trust and distrust from childhood to adulthood, the impact of cultural and political contexts and individual experiences in building trust or distrust in political institutions and public authorities.
  • Citizens’ (Dis-)Trust in Governance: Forms, Determinants, Effects & Remedies: The video gives voice to researchers, public officials and activists in presenting the forms, determinants, effects and remedies of citizens’ trust or distrust, and the role that deliberative democracy can play in building trust between citizens and political institutions.
  • Civilising Trust and Distrust: Role Models and Recommendations: This video reflects on the relationship between civil society organisations and public authorities in EU-level policy making. It gives voice to representatives of pan-European civil society organisations and discusses the conditions to empower civic space at the European level.

The videos feature interviews with:

  • Christian Lahusen – University of Siegen
  • Antonella Valmorbida – ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy
  • Maria Theiss – University of Warsaw
  • Tomasz Pactwa – Social Effort Department in Warsaw
  • Sadija Gicić – Social Worker (retired), Centre for Social Work
  • Spyros Psychas – European Anti-Poverty Network
  • Marta Lempart – All-Poland Women Strike
  • Irena Fiket – University of Belgrade
  • Hans-Jörg Trenz – Scuola Normale Superiore/University of Copenhagen
  • Jan Russezki – Journalist, Formerly at AFP Faktencheck
  • Julie Majerczak – Reporters sans frontières (RSF)
  • Petr Macek – Masaryk University of Brno
  • María Rodríguez Alcázar – European Youth Forum
  • Ofelia and Aviaya – teenagers
  • Enrico Padoan – University of Siena
  • Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul – European Commission
  • Daniela Vancic – Democracy International e.V.
  • Gabriella Civico – CEV-Centre for European Volunteering, President of Civil Society
  • Europe
  • Carlotta Besozzi – Civil Society Europe (CSE)
  • Vitor Teixeira – Transparency International EU

After four years of indepth and multi-dimensional research, the international EnTrust project is coming to an end. For anyone who would like an overview of the core results of the individual work packages, we have prepared an Integrated Research Summary spotlighting novel insights into trust and distrust in governance from various perspectives. If you are interested in more details, you may find the individual reports here.

We are happy to announce that EnTrust contributes to the latest CORDIS Results Pack on “Connecting citizens with democracy”, which elucidates new tools and insights to bolster political participation. Our own contribution sheds light on the role of “enlightened trust” and healthy scepticism for creating and maintaining well-functioning democracies, and gives on overview over 4 years of EnTrust research across seven countries and at EU-level.

On 10th  January 2024, the EnTrust project’s Research and Final conferences brought together around 100 people in the European Parliament, including academics, researchers, members of the European Parliament and Commission, civil society, and students. The focus of the conferences was on the issue of trust and distrust in governance.

As the EnTrust project is approaching completion, the Research and Final Conferences aimed to present the main findings of four years of research on the forms, determinants and consequences of trust and distrust in governance, and to further the discussion on how trust in governance can be (re)built, with a strong focus on the EU level. Moreover, the occasion also served as an opportunity to reflect about the vision of young people on the future of the EU, as it hosted the Award ceremony of the EnTrust Youth Contest.

Did you miss the events or do you want to revisit them? Find the highlights here below.

Organised in partnership with the European Parliament’s Partnership Team, the Research Conference gathered the researchers from the EnTrust consortium and practitioners to discuss the results of the project and their relevance for policy making, in three parallel workshops and a final discussion.

The first workshop, “The individual components of institutional trust”, was moderated by Lenka Štěpánková (Masaryk University), and presented some of the findings on social service clients’ trust in institutions (coordinated by the University of Warsaw), and the development of trust at different stages from childhood to adulthood (led by Masaryk University).

The second workshop, “Political and institutional trust and the role of the media”, moderated by Renate Schröder (European Federation of Journalists) and gathering the research teams of Panteion University Athens and the University of Copenhagen, presented the results of a multi-stage media analysis on the dynamics of trust contestation during the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the results from the EnTrust survey to re-evaluate the assumption of an erosion of trust in news and journalism.

The third workshop, “Social movements, deliberative democracy and civil society organisations: interrelations and methods of policy-making influence”, moderated by Patrizia Heidegger (European Environmental Bureau), presented the results of a research on social movements and their trust towards the institutions (Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade), of an experiment with deliberative democracy practices and their impact on the participants’ trust towards the institutions (University of Siena), and of a research on the patterns of trust and distrust between European civil society organisations and the EU institutions (Civil Society Europe).

The final discussions allowed the participants to discuss the main findings of their workshops in a common setting and reflect on overriding implications for policymaking and civil society engagement.

Hosted by MEP Prof. René Repasi, the Final Conference was dedicated to the question of how trust in governance can be (re)built, with a strong focus on the EU level. The conference featured keynote speeches and a high-level panel discussion, as well as a presentation of policy recommendations that encompass different governance levels and stakeholders. The late afternoon was dedicated to the awards ceremony of the EnTrust creative youth contest.

Watch the recording of the event here and find the highlights below.

  • Presentation of the main policy-related findings of the EnTrust project 

Christian Lahusen, professor of Sociology at the Department of Social Sciences at Siegen University and coordinator of EnTrust, presented the project’s main findings of four years of research on trust and distrust in governance.

See the presentation with the main findings here.

  • High-level panel discussion

Moderated by Carlotta Besozzi, Civil Society Europe’s Director, the panel gathered members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, Civil Society representatives and academics to discuss the value of critical trust and how it can reinvigorate democracy, also in view of the next European elections. Find some highlight quotes below.

  • Marc Lemaître, Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission:

“As policymakers in Europe, we have had for quite a while signals that democracy was under pressure and losing in quality and in trust of citizens. This, for everyone cherishing our societal models, our freedoms, should be a big cause for concern”. 

  • MEP Prof. René Repasi:

“Distrust is part of the working system of checks and balances. MEPs could gain trust from citizens by making the European Parliament a more effective institutionalised ‘distruster’ and being critical of the other EU institutions and agencies”.

  • Jelena Vasiljević, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade:

“Major global crises are ahead of us, and the EU should act as a global actor as well, we have to build trustworthy institutions for these global challenges. The world is changing rapidly and I think we need new questions, new discussions, but the issue of trust and distrust will be fundamental”.

  • Gabriella Civico, President of Civil Society Europe and Director of the CEV-Centre for European Volunteering:

“There is an increasing awareness among EU institutions about the need to protect civic space but they tend to focus more on the national level; we also need to focus on the EU level. From the Civil Society perspective in Europe, we want to continue working with institutions to improve the Defense of Democracy package and make sure that it is really defending democracy that we strive for in the EU, based on EU values”.

  • MEP Domenec Ruiz Devesa:

“Acting to improve citizens’ interest, knowledge and trust in the EU government is the starting point. We have to make it more interesting for citizens in order to increase participation in the European Elections, because when we see that participation is systematically lower than in national elections, is this because of a lack of trust in European governance? Maybe, but because of a lack of interest too”. 

  • Award ceremony of the EnTrust Youth Contest

Hosted by Judit Lantai —Vice-President of Civil Society Europe, and Secretary General of the Young European Federalists— and Harry Panagopoulos —Legal Officer for Democracy, Union Citizenship and Free Movement, DG JUST, European Commission— the ceremony awarded the winners of the contest ‘A Europe we Trust: Visions of European youth’. The contest called on young people aged 13-19 living in Europe to share their visions for the future of Europe in a creative format.

In the ceremony, the winners had the chance to receive a certificate from the EnTrust consortium and Civil Society Europe, and to address the audience regarding their work and vision for the future of Europe. Find some of the highlights below.

  • Winner of the 13 to 14 category: Barbara Martins from Esporão, Portugal

“This award is very important to me because it shows someone cares about young people’s voices and what we have to say to the world. My work was based on rural areas and the protection of plants by creating small seed banks around the world.”

See her winning artwork here.

  • Winners of the 15 to 16 category: Sofía González, Clara López, Ángel Muñoz from Manuel de Falla high school in Coslada, Madrid

“We were enthusiastic to share our views on the future of Europe, we gathered to brainstorm ideas and share opinions, and we put our creativity to work. With our picture we want to encourage EU citizens to vote in the next European Parliament elections in June as there is too much at stake. By voting we vote for the values the EU promotes: democracy, freedom, peace, equality, human rights”.

See their winning artwork here.

  • Winner of the 17 to 19 category: Tea Josipovic from Serbia

“Although we are all coming from different countries and cities, and we are facing different issues every day, we all aim to make our home, Europe, a better place to live. In my work I wanted to present a Europe with greater emphasis on mental health and sustainability”.

See her winning artwork here.

See the full list of winners and honorable mentions here.

Visit to the European Institutions  

The prize for the creative contest was an invitation to Brussels to visit the main EU institutions. During the morning of the 10th of January, guided by Civil Society Europe’s team, the winners and their guardians had the chance to visit the European Council and Commission, the Parlamentarium and the hemicycle of the European Parliament.   In the words of Carmen García, teacher of the Manuel de Falla high school, “the students had the opportunity to see the importance and role of the different institutions in the heart of Europe. They were able to see the buildings of the Commission and the Council and learnt their functions. The visit to the Parlamentarium allowed them to explore many aspects of the EU Parliament: the history, the political parties, the diversity of countries and watched the film that explained how the different institutions work, the role of EMPs, the challenges we face and how difficult it is to reach common laws. The highlight was the visit to the hemicycle where they felt the atmosphere of the place where our representatives take decisions that shape our future. We all enjoyed the visit very much. Thank you to our guides, Carla and Nastasia for showing us everything in spite of the very cold weather and for the typical Belgian fries!”.  

  • Launch of EnTrust documentary video teaser

As part of the Final Conference, the EnTrust consortium presented the teaser of an upcoming series of documentary videos to highlight main findings and insights into the forms, determinants and consequences of trust and distrust in governance, as well as to give a voice to various research participants.  

Watch the video teaser here.

Do you want to know more about the EnTrust project and its findings? Stay tuned for what comes next! In the next weeks many outcomes will be published, including:

  • A research report on forms, determinants, effects and remedies of trust/distrust, based on representative population surveys in 7 European countries, and experimental online policy deliberations
  • A manual on evidence-informed policy making
  • A guide on ‘enlightened trust’ providing insights into thresholds of changing trust levels, scenarios and preventive measures
  • An Integrated Policy Paper with proposals at the European level based on the EnTrust research
  • A  manual to conduct a training on civil dialogue aimed at public officials and civil society organisations
  • A collaborative website with concrete instructions for social movements and civil society organisations on how to conduct advocacy and policy making at the European level…

…and much more! In the meantime, you can read our European Policy Briefs and Research Reports, and follow us on social media to stay updated on our latest news! 

Watch our EnTrust VIDEO TEASER!

The EnTrust project produced a series of documentary videos to highlight main findings and give a voice to various research participants. Through our research, we have uncovered some fascinating insights into the forms, determinants and consequences of trust and distrust in governance. In these videos, we wish to share our findings with you. The full videos will be published soon.

Production: Camille Delbos

‘A Europe we Trust: Visions of European youth’ is a contest that called on young people aged 13-19 living in Europe to share their visions for the future of Europe in a creative format. After receiving 60 submissions from all over Europe and reviewing them carefully with a jury, we are happy to announce the winners of the contest! 

The jury was composed by Andrea Lapegna, the Deputy Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform, Carmen Romero, the Membership and Governance Coordinator of the Organising Bureau of European School Students Unions, and two members of the EnTrust consortium: Lenka Štěpánková, assistant professor at the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University, and Marian Pradella, research associate at the Chair of Sociology – Comparative Cultural Sociology and European Political Sociology at the University of Siegen. 

Submissions were sorted based on three age categories: 13-14, 15-16, 17-19. Based on age and criteria such as message and communication, creativity, uniqueness, and originality, consistency with theme, and aesthetic appeal, the jury chose 1 winning submission per age category. Find the winners and honorable mentions below! 

Winners have been invited to Brussels to visit the EU institutions and attend an awards ceremony as part of the Final Conference of the EnTrust project. This will take place in Brussels on the 10th of January, 2024. Registrations are now open! 

  • For the agenda of the Final Conference, please click here.
  • To participate, please register here.

Barbara Martins 

I live in Esporão, near Góis, a small village in the central region of Portugal. I live in a rural area, which suffered in 2017 from the largest forest fire ever to occur in my country (24 thousand ha) and the deadliest in history. Góis is part of the Natura 2000 Site of Community Importance – Serra da Lousã, with a diversity of habitats, fauna and flora that are very important to preserve and that inspire me in my daily life. 

I am a 9th year student, and my school is involved in an Erasmus+ project called “SEEDS – EntrEpreneurship Seeds for Sustainable Development”, which last month won the LLLAward 2023 at Provider level. We are learning a lot with this project, working with scientists, photographers, digital communicators, an environmental engineer/environmental educator,  and with all of the teachers that give us a lot of help.

I have always liked nature, and I learned lots of things with my family. I decided to participate in this award because I have always liked challenges, and the engineer that is involved in SEEDS suggested that could be a great opportunity for me to participate.  In the future I would like to study sciences and be an investigator or even an engineer because I also like math. 

Junior ambassadors of Manuel de Falla high school in Coslada, Madrid 

  • Names:  Sofía González Díaz, Clara López Gómez, Ángel Muñoz Muñoz, Marta Arminio Guerra, Luis Carrazón Durán, Itziar Daza Rodríguez, Álvaro de la Flor Collado, Paula González Esteban, Diego Merino Maroto, Lucia Moreira Bermejo, Louis Arthure Ngounou Ngo-Nounga. 
  • Age: 16
  • Country: Spain
  • Submission: See their full creative work here. 
  • Motivation: 

The junior ambassadors of Manuel de Falla high school in Coslada, Madrid who are participating in this contest are deeply concerned about the participation in the next European elections. We want to encourage young people to be active in the decision-making process as there is too much at stake. This picture wants to remind European people that by voting in the next elections to the European Parliament in May, we vote to keep EU values alive: peace, democracy, freedom, equality, human rights, sustainability, etc. 

Young people have a say in the next elections by voting or encouraging other people to vote. We are aware of the benefits of being part of the European Union and voting is a way to preserve EU values. 

The Europe we trust should continue to defend these values.

Tea Josipovic

As a young European, I recognized this contest as an opportunity to share my desires and visions for the future of our home. And I simply asked myself “What if Europe looked better?”. I must say that it was not easy at all to define the meaning of the word “better”, because I sought to understand not only my aspirations, but also the collective desires of people in my country and Europe as a whole. What I would like to see in the future Europe would definitely be a greater emphasis on the mental health of all people. In the past three years, particularly since the outbreak of the coronavirus, I have witnessed that people have become significantly distant, they spend less and less time together and they feel too overwhelmed with work or academic pressure. Additionally, I envision a future where people spend more time outdoors, breathing fresh air, surrounded by nature. And did I just say “breathing fresh air”? Yes, and this was the exact moment when the second problem popped into my mind. Considering that I come from Belgrade, Serbia, every year I witness an increasingly horrifying sight. Every morning, especially during winter, I wake up with a view of gray, concrete buildings surrounded by smog, or rather very dangerous particles in the air. Also, in the last few years, there has been a lot of river pollution and deforestation in my country. I truly wish to see people actively and independently, even through small actions, contribute to a clearer environment in the future, rather than solely relying on the authorities to take steps. Hence, I decided to include sustainability and climate action in my vision of Europe in the future. I hope that all of us Europeans will have the opportunity to witness the realization of this vision in the near future, and with a bit of luck, I believe the picture will be even more beautiful!

Paula García Jiménez

Country: Spain

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Mahasin, Mohamed and Fatima Ismail

Country: Ireland

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Abril Albert

Country: Spain

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Júlia Castañé and Nora Llinàs

Country: Spain

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Jana Farrés Magín

Country: Spain

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Ainara Ayuso Velo and Aaron Arjonilla Loureiro

Country: Spain

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Alexandru Irina Mihaela

Country: Romania

See the creative work and motivation here! 

Domenico Gallo and the students of the 5th class of the ITE of Viggianello

Country: Italy

See the creative work and motivation here! 

We are excited to announce that registration for our EnTrust Research and Final Conferences, taking place on 10th January 2024 at the premisses of the European Parliament in Brussels, is now open until 3rd January 2024 at 12:00 CET. For more information and to register, please follow the links at our conference website.

As one of our keynote speakers at the International EnTrust Conference in Siena (28-29 September 2023), the distinguished trust expert Tereza Capelos (University of Southampton) talked about “Hot Emotionality and the Fracture of Trust in the Era of Grievance Politics”. You may find her presentation here.

As one of our keynote speakers at the International EnTrust Conference in Siena (28-29 September 2023), the distinguished expert Pippa Norris talked about “Trust in Government Worldwide: The role of information environments & cognitive skills”. You may watch her talk (again) on EnTrust’s YouTube channel here.

Our latest European Policy Briefs provide evidence-based policy recommendations and new insights about dis/trust contestation and building in the media and the role of disinformation and media freedom (European Policy Brief IV) and regarding the formation of (political) trust and distrust throughout different life stages, thus accounting for the developmental-psychological foundations of trust in governance (European Policy Brief V).