As data from the European Quality of Life Surveys and Eurobarometer show, the sharp decline in trust in institutions was a temporary phenomenon during the recession. In some Member States, trust in the EU declined more during this period than trust in national governments, but trust in the EU has generally remained higher than trust in national governments in most countries. The report shows that moderating social tensions and feelings of social exclusion can help to stem the decline in trust. However, to boost trust in institutions, improving the quality of public services is the most powerful driver. A number of encouraging and practical consequences result from trust in public institutions: for example, countries with higher trust in political institutions have a lower level of tax evasion (VAT gap) and greater public support for policy reforms. An executive summary is also available - see Related content.