TRANSWORLD uses this complex methodological instrument because an elite survey provides a useful complement to other sources. Elite surveys allow us to explore perceptions of current realities and policy alternatives, giving voice also to policy preferences that may not be publicly aired in mainstream political and policy debates. Second, elite surveys can help detect future problems and policy visions that are often based on a combination of background information, policy preferences and ideological postures, as well as expectations about the future. Surveyed elites are from three target groups from the US and five EU countries, and from EU institutions, including the Commission, the Council, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and the European Parliament:
- the social sector (opinion leaders, academics, think tanks); - the political sector (elected representatives and their staff, officials), - the economic sector (business people from trade and financial sectors, and trade union leaders)
Surveyed EU member states would be France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, and the UK, selected on the ground of several criteria, including size (small: Greece; mid-size: Poland; large: Germany, Italy, France, UK), geography (northern: Germany, UK; Mediterranean: France, Italy; eastern: Poland; Balkan: Greece) and attitudes towards the US and transatlantic issues (more pro-US: Germany, Italy, Poland, UK; more US-sceptic: Greece and France).