Conclusion — What Have We Learnt, and Where Do We Go from Here?
This chapter summarizes the detailed empirical results of the volume. We have found very strong evidence that the basic principles of liberal democracy are universally endorsed across Europe, and that Europeans also embrace direct and social democracy. The legitimacy in terms of liberal and direct democracy is high across Europe, the real democratic deficit in Europe concerns the social democratic vision of democracy. It concludes with a few ideas about where we could go from here in the empirical analysis of the ESS dataset on which it is based and which is available to the general public. Future research should analyze the individual items in more detail, study the consequences of the various views and evaluations and link our data to those on personal and social well-being in the same dataset. Finally, our data should be expanded by introducing comparable items in national surveys allowing for country-specific comparisons over time.