Question for written answer to the Commission (Rule 130) by Jadwiga Wiśniewska (ECR) on 7 November 2014:
Subject: Dubious scientific value of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s EU LGBT Survey
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a report on its EU LGBT Survey, which then served as the basis for the ‘Tackling sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination’ conference held at the Commission headquarters on 28 October 2014. Many concerns have been raised regarding the methodology used in the FRA’s survey, as it is alleged that the sample group was improperly selected and that it may have been possible for respondents to fill out the survey more than once. Objections were raised by European Dignity Watch and the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe, among others. These organisations claim that the survey is unrepresentative, as it does not constitute a true reflection of the society being studied, but is rather a collection of anonymous opinions.
In the social sciences, quantitative research methods are used to measure the frequency distribution of social phenomena and serve as the basis for ascertaining whether the results obtained are representative of society. We can conclude that the data is representative when the research is carried out in accordance with test procedures: variables are made operational, the survey is unambiguous, and the respondents are selected using a sample that reflects the real composition of the society being studied.
The FRA’s purpose is to assist EU institutions in implementing EC law by providing accurate expertise and studies. However, doubts have been cast on the scientific value of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s EU LGBT Survey. In this context, I call for the quality and accuracy of the survey — which cost EU taxpayers EUR 400 000 — to be examined and ask that I be informed of the conclusions reached.
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission on 19 December 2014:
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is a decentralised Union agency with a separate legal personality. The Commission has therefore asked FRA to provide a response to your question. The Agency’s reply will be sent by the Commission to the Honourable Member as soon as possible.
Comment: AGENDA EUROPE will publish the Agency’s reply as soon as it becomes available. But this will probably take some time given the apparent difficulties for the Agency to draft a face-saving answer…