Written by Clare Ferguson
We all know the old adage about images and numbers of words. We are all increasingly faced with the need to communicate faster, shorter, and usually, more visually. When you don’t have 1 000 words, but rather 140 characters, an image is just what you need. Members of the European Parliament are no exception, and many are consummate experts in using social media to get their points about EU policies across to citizens. EPRS provides comprehensive research and analytical support to Members, adapting our publications to best meet their needs. Often, to illustrate a policy issue, our publications include useful visuals: graphs, maps, and charts of all kinds.
To make these resources easily available for re-use by Members and citizens, we created the EPRS Graphics warehouse. The warehouse collects all visuals from EPRS publications, and categorises them by EU policy area. Topic galleries allow for easy browsing, and where policy areas overlap, for instance between environment and social policies, links are provided to the graphics in the associated area.
EPRS creates the visuals based on statistical information from sources mentioned on the graphic. The type of information varies widely: from the full and complex picture on EU-US trade in a single handy picture, (including the thorny subject of rights management in the form of royalties and licence fees); to a simple bar chart on EU assistance requested in response to disasters, such as the ever-more frequent cases of flooding; to a table demonstrating the significant rise in net adjustments to national contributions to the EU budget last year, where nine Member States were required to pay more, and a further 19 received a reimbursement.
Whether illustrating an argument using a complex graph on household use of energy by source in 2013, and 2003-13 change, a simple bar chart showing the number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, or the number unemployed in the EU28, or a simple pie chart on freight transport performance by mode; we provide a short description of the topic with each graphic, which is useful when sharing on social media. A link is also available to the bigger picture, in the form of the publication where the graphic first appeared.
Handy maps with statistical data are also available, such as an EU map of average farm size, from very big to very small, per region; or the much-viewed-on-Twitter map of routes of irregular migration into the EU in 2014. A map of the cost of non-Europe shows the potential gains for EU GDP which could be achieved with a full phasing-in of proposed reforms over several years, such as for instance, banking union to guard against further financial crises.
All the visuals are available to download and reuse for any purpose on any media. The only proviso being that we require citation as an author (credit: European Parliamentary Research Service).
A note about dates: much of the, even most recent, statistics available date from two and more years ago. This is due to the nature of statistical collection, where definitive data are very often not available until some years later. Therefore, the data provided are the most up-to-date, despite dating from e.g., 2010 or 2011.