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Chapter 23 Public Opinion and the EU Cini (ed.) European Union Politics, 2 nd edition OUP Online Teaching Resources Structure of the Lecture How is the EU perceived by the people? Explaining public opinion on the EU Public opinion in the new member states Public opinion matters…

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Chapter 23 public opinion and the eu l.jpg

Chapter 23Public Opinion and the EU

Cini (ed.) European Union Politics, 2nd edition

OUP Online Teaching Resources


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Structure of the Lecture

  • How is the EU perceived by the people?

  • Explaining public opinion on the EU

  • Public opinion in the new member states

  • Public opinion matters…


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How is the EU perceived by the people?

  • The overall trend of public opinion on the EU

    • Euro-enthusiasm was on the rise through 1991

    • It was considerably reduced by 1997

  • Country specific characteristics

    • People in Austria, Finland, Sweden and the UK are the least supportive

    • The original six members and the Mediterranean members, plus Ireland, are the most supportive

    • Enthusiasm for the EU declined in every member states across the 1990s


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Explaining public opinion on the EU

  • Knowledge of the EU and cognitive mobilization

    • What is cognitive mobilization?

    • Cognitive mobilization and attitudes towards the EU

    • The more one knows, the more supportive s/he becomes


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Explaining public opinion on the EU

  • Political economy and rationality

    • What is egocentric and sociotropic utilitarianism?

    • The benefits and costs of European integration

    • People with better education, job skills and income tend to be more supportive


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Explaining public opinion on the EU

  • Attitudes towards the national government

    • When people are not familiar with the EU, they rely on domestic political cues/proxies

    • The relationship between domestic political performance and the perceived EU legitimacy


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Explaining public opinion on the EU

  • Identity

    • Identity: exclusive or multi-layered?

    • European identity and national pride

  • The perception of EU institutions

    • Do people trust the EU institutions?


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Public opinion in the new member states

  • People in the new member states are not as Euro-enthusiastic as they were in the early 1990s

  • The Baltic countries are the least enthusiastic supporters for the EU

  • Citizens in the new member states worry about the cost of integration, financially as well as culturally

  • Public opinion in the candidate countries are still positive.


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Public opinion matters…

  • The EU is lack of the normal institutional basis of political legitimacy

  • The increasing use of referendums on issues relating to European integration

  • The ongoing constitutional crisis…

  • The long-term risk of political apathy

  • Euroscepticism as a populist rhetoric


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