k-12 teachers

Conferences and Working Groups

Party Positioning on European Integration

Conferences organized by this working group:

Euroskepticism Conference
(July 1 - 2, 2005, Amsterdam)

Original Datasets originating from this working group:

Expert Survey: National Parties and the European Union
Dataset one
Datasets two and three (with related papers)

No major theory of regional integration or of political conflict predicted the sharp rise of public interest in European integration. Yet public support or opposition is a vital constraint on the future of the European Union; the fate of the Constitutional Treaty is a case in point. This project brings together researchers from across the US and Europe who can provide keen insight into the causes and consequences of changing public support for European integration.

Our framing question is straightforward: How can one explain changing public support for European integration over time and space? To what extent, and why, have citizens, political parties, social movements, and interest groups become more or less supportive over the past dozen years? Is support generated by economic concerns or by conceptions of identity, by general political trust, or by specific EU policies, or by something else? Will the same explanations work over time, within and across countries, and across different kinds of groups?

We wish to inquire into the policy consequences of changing public support. To what extent, if at all, has it constrained European integration? To what extent, if at all, does it shape national politics?

•  How has changing public support constrained the political architecture of the European Union? Has it closed off some options (e.g. federalism) and enabled others (e.g. variable geometry)?

•  What are the connections between support and democratic governance ? For example, does a more varied pattern of support and opposition help or inhibit EU democratization?

•  To what extent, and how, has public opinion on European integration shaped national elections ? When, and how, has it altered the structure of political competition?

•  How does changing support affect policy implementation ? Is Euro-skepticism associated with foot-dragging in carrying out joint policies?

The working group is composed of 25 faculty and Ph.D students from the US and Europe. The group will meet at a workshop in summer 2005 in Amsterdam and in Spring 2006 in Chapel Hill at which revised papers will be presented. An edited book and/or a special journal issue will detail the results of this joint research project.