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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration
 9780192511898, 0192511890

Table of contents :
Cover
Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration
Copyright
Preface
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Part I Public Opinion and European Integration
Introduction: Losing Hearts and Minds? Taking Stock of EU Public Opinion
0.1 Key Questions
0.2 What Lies Ahead
1: What Is the Matter with Europe?: The Puzzles of Euroscepticism
1.1 The Puzzling Rise of Euroscepticism
1.2 Benchmarks as a Crucial Piece of the Puzzle
1.3 Relationship to Existing Approaches
Part II The Nature of Support and Scepticism
2: In or Out?: A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism
2.1 The Nature of Support and Scepticism
2.2 A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism
2.3 The Importance of Regime and Policy Evaluations
2.4 Measuring People´s Regime and Policy Evaluations
2.5 Summary
3: Kicking Up a Fuss?: From Permissive to Responsive Support and Scepticism
3.1 Public Responsiveness to Real-World Conditions
3.2 A Survey Experiment on Public Responsiveness
3.3 The Role of Political Sophistication
3.4 Summary
Part III A Typology of Support and Scepticism
4: A Divided Public?: Types of Support and Scepticism
4.1 Four Types of Support and Scepticism
4.2 Country Level Variation
4.3 Individual Level Variation
4.4 The Importance of Proximate Responsibility Attribution
4.5 Summary
5: Common People?: Who Are Supporters and Sceptics and What Do They Want?
5.1 The Demographic Profile of Supporters and Sceptics
5.2 The Issue Priorities of Supporters and Sceptics
5.3 The Issue Positions of Supporters and Sceptics
5.4 Summary and Implications
Part IV The Consequences of Support and Scepticism
6: Going Hard or Soft?: Party Choice among Supporters and Sceptics
6.1 The Importance of Supply and Demand
6.2 Support for Eurosceptic Parties
6.3 Do Issue Positions Matter?
6.4 Summary and Implications
7: Brexit and Beyond: Leave and Remain Preferences amongSupporters and Sceptics
7.1 The Brexit Vote
7.2 Remain and Leave Support in the EU
7.3 The Importance of Issue Priorities and Positions
7.4 Remain and Leave Support Post-Brexit
7.5 Summary and Implications
Part V Public Opinion and The Future of European Integration
8: Change or Die?: EU Reform Preferences among Supporters and Sceptics
8.1 Measuring the Reform Preferences of Supporters and Sceptics
8.2 Support for EU Reform Proposals
8.3 Eurozone Reform Preferences
8.4 Summary and Implications
9: Conclusion: A Divided Public, a Divided Union: Where Do We Go from Here?
9.1 The Main Contributions of the Book
9.2 A Divided Public: So What?
9.3 Can the Grand Theories of European Integration Provide Insights?
9.4 Can Supranational Reform Solutions Help?
9.5 Flexible Integration as a Way Forward
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Catherine E. De Vries

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Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Catherine E. De Vries 2018 The moral rights of the author have been asserted First Edition published in 2018 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2017947441 ISBN 978–0–19–879338–0 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

For Hector, who made me see the European project through different eyes

Preface

This book provides a new chapter in a classic conversation. It examines the role of public opinion in the European integration process. Almost half a century ago, the European Union started to commission, fund, and undertake one of most intense and long running programmes of cross-national survey research anywhere in the world through the Eurobarometer.1 Since then academics, policy makers, and pundits have started to chart the policy preferences of European publics. Although the locus of attention has shifted recently from understanding support to scepticism, the core question at the heart of societal and scholarly debates has largely remained the same: what explains variation in attitudes towards European integration? This book suggests that the widespread fascination with explanation has partly been at the expense of our understanding of the exact nature of public opinion and the role it plays in the European integration process. By redirecting our focus, this book provides a much-needed account of the conceptualization, causes, and consequences of public opinion in the European Union. The idea for this book was the result of two dinner conversations. The first took place in September 2014. At that time, the Eurozone crisis had taken its grip on the European continent, and my husband and I had many conversations about the effects of the crisis and the reforms needed to safeguard the future of the European project. In one of these, I mentioned the ‘stark rise in unemployment’ that my home country the Netherlands had experienced since 2012 and how it may have contributed to the electoral gains of Eurosceptic parties. My husband, a Spanish political economist, was clearly annoyed by my choice of words. He suggested that I might think about the Dutch experience in a broader perspective, and pointed towards the dire situation in Spain. He tried to make me understand what ‘real unemployment and deep structural problems in the labour market’ look like. This exchange of perspectives over the dinner table made me realize that my views about the 1 The Eurobarometer has conducted biannual surveys in all the EU member states (as well as some candidate countries) since 1973. While its purpose is to chart the policy preferences of European publics and provide input for EU policy making, the Eurobarometer surveys have provided an invaluable resource for academic research in Europe. For more information see http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm.

Preface

European project, the single currency, and the possibility for reform were tainted by ‘my’ national perspective. The second conversation took place at the annual meeting of the European Political Science Association in Vienna in June 2015. On the last evening of the conference, I had dinner with colleagues. One of these was my friend and co-author, Elias Dinas, who is Greek. During dinner, Elias was eagerly trying to get ahold of his mother in Greece. Earlier that day the Greek government had restricted the amounts of money people were allowed to withdraw from their bank accounts. His mother urgently needed cash for groceries and was not able to get hold of her money. Our dinner conversation about the situation in Greece and the role the European Union played in it, against the backdrop of people going about their normal lives on a Saturday night in Vienna, made me realize again that the way each of us sees the European project and evaluates it is deeply influenced by ‘our’ national viewpoints. These two dinner conversations and many other exchanges since then led me to the insight that underpins this book and the theory of European public opinion it presents: people’s evaluations of and experiences with the European project are fundamentally framed by the national circumstances in which they find themselves. Although the idea that national conditions matter for public opinion about European integration has been addressed in the literature before, most notably in the important contributions of Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca (2000) and Robert Rohrschneider (2002), we currently lack an understanding of the exact way in which they do and how they relate to behaviour in elections and referendums. This book presents a benchmark theory of public opinion towards European integration. It provides both a comprehensive country and individual level mechanism of how national and European evaluations are linked and interact to produce certain kinds of behavioural consequences. The contribution of this book is not only to provide an insight into how public opinion, and especially Euroscepticism, is structured, how it comes about, how it changed in the midst of the Eurozone crisis, and how it is linked to national conditions, but also what possible consequences it has for the future of the European project. The writing of this book has been an extremely rewarding experience that would not have been possible without the help of others. Some people advised me over a cup of coffee, while others attended various talks or workshops where ideas were presented, and others again took valuable time out of their busy schedules to read entire drafts of the manuscript. A very special thank you goes to the Bertelsmann Foundation and in particular Isabell Hoffmann. A large part of the data collection would not have been possible without the generous support of the Bertelsmann Foundation. I am grateful for their continued dedication to understanding the contours of public opinion in Europe. Especially my close cooperation with Isabell has been crucially important for my thinking. I wish to thank her for all her advice and her viii

Preface

ways of challenging me to always think about the bigger picture and the political ramifications of my findings. Second, I would like to express my gratitude to several wonderful colleagues who have helped sharpen my thinking. There are many, but I especially wish to thank Elias Dinas, David Doyle, Aina Gallego, Tim Haughton, Armèn Hakhverdian, Stephanie Hofmann, Elisabeth Ivarsflaten, Spyros Kosmidis, Gary Marks, Robert Rohrschneider, Christina Schneider, Marco Steenbergen, and Mariken Van der Velden for their extremely helpful comments on various ideas and drafts. A special thank you also goes to Kalypso Nicolaïdis and the staff at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Oxford for organizing a book workshop in February 2017. At this workshop some of my former Oxford colleagues and students took the time to engage with my ideas. I especially want to thank Kalypso and Alexander Kuo for their extremely insightful and constructive comments and thorough reading of the book. In addition, I wish to acknowledge two very bright students in International Relations at Oxford, Kira Huju and Christine Gallagher, who provided very helpful comments. I also wish to thank Dominic Byatt, my editor at Oxford University Press, for his continued support. His advice on how to write a book about a target that is continuously changing was extremely valuable. Finally, I wish to thank four people in particular who stood by me in the process of writing this book. The first is my longstanding friend and co-author Sara Hobolt. Your clarity of thought and dedication to understanding the deep problems the European Union faces at the present time amazes me every time we meet. This book has benefited from all our exchanges and your thoughtful insights. Our academic and personal friendship means so very much to me. The second is my ‘Doktor-Mutter’ and co-author Liesbet Hooghe. Without your valuable advice, critique, and support this manuscript would never have been published. You are an inspiration to me to this day. I also wish to wholeheartedly thank my husband and co-author, Héctor Solaz. I am eternally grateful for all the long walks and talks during which you supported me when I felt stuck, and clarified the core argument I wanted to make to myself. Thank you for every minute. Without your love and support this book would have never seen the light of day. Finally, I want to thank my little daughter Mila. You move so gracefully between three European cultures and languages. Your life truly represents what European connectedness is made of. I hope for you and for your future life companions that Europe finds a way to champion its accomplishments and cherish its differences as strengths rather than as weaknesses. Braiswick May 2017

ix

Contents

List of Figures List of Tables

xv xix

Part I. Public Opinion and European Integration Introduction: Losing Hearts and Minds? Taking Stock of EU Public Opinion 0.1 Key Questions 0.2 What Lies Ahead

1. What Is the Matter with Europe? The Puzzles of Euroscepticism 1.1 The Puzzling Rise of Euroscepticism 1.2 Benchmarks as a Crucial Piece of the Puzzle 1.3 Relationship to Existing Approaches

3 4 7 13 14 23 26

Part II. The Nature of Support and Scepticism 2. In or Out? A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5

The Nature of Support and Scepticism A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism The Importance of Regime and Policy Evaluations Measuring People’s Regime and Policy Evaluations Summary

3. Kicking Up a Fuss? From Permissive to Responsive Support and Scepticism 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

Public Responsiveness to Real-World Conditions A Survey Experiment on Public Responsiveness The Role of Political Sophistication Summary

33 35 36 42 45 55 56 59 66 70 72

OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/2017, SPi

Contents

Part III. A Typology of Support and Scepticism 4. A Divided Public? Types of Support and Scepticism 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5

Four Types of Support and Scepticism Country Level Variation Individual Level Variation The Importance of Proximate Responsibility Attribution Summary

5. Common People? Who Are Supporters and Sceptics and What Do They Want? 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

The Demographic Profile of Supporters and Sceptics The Issue Priorities of Supporters and Sceptics The Issue Positions of Supporters and Sceptics Summary and Implications

77 78 83 93 95 101 103 105 116 121 126

Part IV. The Consequences of Support and Scepticism 6. Going Hard or Soft? Party Choice among Supporters and Sceptics 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4

The Importance of Supply and Demand Support for Eurosceptic Parties Do Issue Positions Matter? Summary and Implications

7. Brexit and Beyond: Leave and Remain Preferences among Supporters and Sceptics 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5

The Brexit Vote Remain and Leave Support in the EU The Importance of Issue Priorities and Positions Remain and Leave Support Post-Brexit Summary and Implications

129 131 139 146 150 153 156 161 163 171 176

Part V. Public Opinion and The Future of European Integration 8. Change or Die? EU Reform Preferences among Supporters and Sceptics 8.1 Measuring the Reform Preferences of Supporters and Sceptics 8.2 Support for EU Reform Proposals 8.3 Eurozone Reform Preferences 8.4 Summary and Implications

xii

183 186 189 196 202

Contents

9. Conclusion: A Divided Public, a Divided Union: Where Do We Go from Here? 9.1 The Main Contributions of the Book 9.2 A Divided Public: So What? 9.3 Can the Grand Theories of European Integration Provide Insights? 9.4 Can Supranational Reform Solutions Help? 9.5 Flexible Integration as a Way Forward Appendix Bibliography Index

204 205 209 211 214 217 223 227 243

xiii

List of Figures

0.1. A typology of support and scepticism

9

1.1. Hard Eurosceptic party support in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections

15

1.2. A comparison of Sunderland and Bournemouth

18

1.3. The relationship between feelings of exclusive national identity and hard Eurosceptic party support in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections

20

1.4. Trends in feelings of exclusive national identity and extreme right vote shares in the Netherlands

22

1.5. Leave and Eurosceptic party support in Great Britain and Spain

24

1.6. Approval of policies and regime at the EU Level in Great Britain and Spain

25

1.7. Approval of policies and regime at the national and EU level in Great Britain and Spain

26

2.1. Defining EU support

38

2.2. Defining EU scepticism

39

2.3. EU regime and policy differential across time

50

2.4. EU regime and policy differential across time and space

51

2.5. EU regime and policy differential by unemployment

52

2.6. EU regime and policy differential by quality of government

52

2.7. Changes in EU regime and policy differentials between 2004 and 2014 across space

53

2.8. Changes in national and European regime evaluations between 2004 and 2014 across space

54

2.9. Changes in national and European policy evaluations between 2004 and 2014 across space

55

4.1. Four types of support and scepticism

78

4.2. Plotting countries in an EU differential space in 2014

81

4.3. Types of support and scepticism in 2014

82

4.4. Types of support and scepticism across countries in 2014

83

List of Figures 4.5. Distribution of types by economic conditions in 2014

85

4.6. Distribution of types by quality of government in 2014

87

4.7. Change in types 2008–2014

89

4.8. Change in types 2008–2014 across countries

90

4.9. Change in types by national conditions 2008–2014

91

4.10. Types in 2008 and 2014

92

4.11. The effect of economic and political system satisfaction on support and scepticism

94

4.12. Expectations of democracy by national conditions

98

4.13. Responsibility judgements by national conditions

99

5.1. Unemployment among the four types

106

5.2. Financial worry among the four types

107

5.3. Social positioning among the four types

108

5.4. Skill levels among the four types

109

5.5. Gender gap among the four types

110

5.6. Age gap among the four types

111

5.7. Education level among the four types

112

5.8. Policy responsibility among the four types

115

5.9. Issue priorities among the four types

116

5.10. Issue priorities of loyal supporters by national conditions

118

5.11. Issue priorities of policy sceptics by national conditions

119

5.12. Issue priorities of regime sceptics by national conditions

119

5.13. Issue priorities of exit sceptics by national conditions

120

5.14. Predicting issue positions by the four types

122

5.15. Predicting policy positions by the four types and national conditions

123

5.16. National and European attachment among the four types

125

5.17. Predicting national attachment by the four types

125

6.1. Conditions for second order and EU issue voting

132

6.2. Eurosceptic members of the 2014 European Parliament

133

6.3. Issue priorities among the four types

137

6.4. Issue priorities across member states

138

6.5. Support for Eurosceptic parties among the four types

141

6.6. Hard versus soft Eurosceptic party support among the four types

142

6.7. Left versus right Eurosceptic party support among the four types

143

6.8. Left Eurosceptic party support by unemployment and immigration as priority

144

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List of Figures 6.9. Right Eurosceptic party support by unemployment and immigration as priority

145

6.10. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on migration

147

6.11. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on national control

148

6.12. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on redistribution

149

6.13. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on state intervention in the economy

150

7.1. Remain support among the four types, British respondents only

157

7.2. Remain support among the four types by issue priority, British respondents only

158

7.3. Predicting remain support among the four types, British respondents only

160

7.4. Remain support among the four types

162

7.5. Remain support among the four types across countries

163

7.6. Remain support among the four types by issue priority

164

7.7. Remain support among the four types by views on foreigners

165

7.8. Remain support among the four types by views on globalization

166

7.9. Predicting remain support

167

7.10. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-foreigner sentiment

169

7.11. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-globalization stance

170

7.12. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-elitist stance

171

7.13. Difference in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016

172

7.14. Change in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016

173

7.15. Remain support among the four types in April–August 2016 in five countries

174

7.16. Change in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016 in five countries

174

7.17. Remain support among the four types by Brexit expectation

175

8.1. Support for EU reform in 28 member states

190

8.2. Support for EU reform in 28 member states by national conditions

191

8.3. Support for EU reform among loyal supporters in 28 member states

193

8.4. Support for EU reform among policy sceptics in 28 member states

194

8.5. Support for EU reform among regime sceptics in 28 member states

195

8.6. Support for EU reform among exit sceptics in 28 member states

195

8.7. Support for economic reform among the four types

196

xvii

List of Figures 8.8. Support for economic reform among the four types by national conditions

197

8.9. Expectations about future of Eurozone among the four types

198

8.10. Expectations about future of Eurozone among the four types by national conditions

199

8.11. Support for Eurozone budget and finance minister among the four types

200

8.12. Support for Eurozone budget and finance minister among the four types by national conditions

200

8.13. Support for EU response to member state in financial difficulty among the four types

201

8.14. Support for EU response to member state in financial difficulty among the four types by national conditions

202

9.1. Summary of the differences between the four types

xviii

208

List of Tables

2.1. Cross-validation of EU differential measures

49

3.1. Four types of events

60

3.2. Selection of events

62

3.3. Effect of event type on the EU regime differential

63

3.4. Effect of national corruption vignette

68

3.5. Effect on EU policy differential

69

3.6. Effect of political sophistication

71

3.7. Difference in treatment effect by political sophistication

72

4.1. Testing the proximate responsibility attribution assumption

100

5.1. Changes in predicted support and scepticism based on socio-demographic variables

113

6.1. Hard and soft Eurosceptic parties included in the 2014 EES

134

8.1. Example of a choice in the conjoint experiment

188

8.2. Attributes of different dimensions

188

A.1. Balance statistics

223

A.2. Results of placebo tests

224

A.3. Results of small-Hsiao tests of IIA assumption

225

Part I Public Opinion and European Integration

Introduction Losing Hearts and Minds? Taking Stock of EU Public Opinion

Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe do not share our Euro-enthusiasm. Disillusioned with the great visions of the future, they demand that we cope with the present reality better than we have been doing until now. Donald Tusk, 30 May 2016, Brussels

The European Union (EU)1 is currently facing one of the rockiest periods in its sixty years existence. Not often in its history has the country bloc looked so economically fragile, so insecure about how to protect its borders, so divided over how to tackle the crisis of legitimacy facing its institutions, and so under assault by Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs. While government leaders aim to find unity, intergovernmental conferences in recent years have been beset by deep divisions over how to bring the Eurozone and refugee crises to an end. The dream of Europe’s founding father Jean Monnet to build a Union of men rather than states seems almost out of reach. These latest developments have left a mark on public opinion. Eurosceptic sentiment is on the rise. It is no longer a phenomenon tied to small segments of society, extremist political parties or to specific economic cycles. The outcome of the Brexit referendum in Great Britain2 provided a first glimpse of what may lie ahead when Eurosceptic sentiment hardens. In June 2016, against the recommendation of most political and economic experts, the British people voted to leave the EU.

1 The European Union (EU) has changed its name several times during its existence. In this book, I will use the words ‘EU’, ‘Europe’, and ‘Union’ interchangeably. 2 In this book, I will use the term Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom. This is because some of the public opinion data sources that I use do not always include Northern Ireland. In order to be consistent, I rely on data from Great Britain only.

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

The result sent a shock wave through the political establishment in London, Brussels, and beyond. Was the result based on British exceptionalism, or indicative of a larger process of a revolt against Brussels? The British public has always displayed a stronger pull towards Euroscepticism compared to public opinion on the continent. Yet, recent election contests demonstrated a steady rise of Eurosceptic sentiment throughout many parts of the Union. In fact, Eurosceptic parties have seized their largest ever vote shares in the 2014 European Parliament elections. These election and referendum outcomes have to be seen against the backdrop of the economic and political challenges that the EU has faced in the previous decade or so. The Eurozone and refugee crises have proved to be real stress tests for Europe. While economic recovery may be on its way, at least in some member states, what many citizens have learnt from these recent tribulations is not to blindly trust politicians and technocrats who blithely promise that more Europe will automatically deliver economic prosperity and geopolitical stability. For a long time public opinion was viewed as largely irrelevant for an understanding of the course of European integration. This viewpoint is perhaps best reflected in the writing of Ernst Haas. In his seminal volume The Uniting of Europe, Haas (1968: 17) wrote: ‘It is as impracticable as it is unnecessary to have recourse to general public opinion surveys. . . . It suffices to single out and define the political elites in the participating countries, to study the reactions to integration and assess changes in attitude on their part.’ The days of a permissive consensus in which elites could pursue further integrative steps with little to no regard for public opinion are gone (Hooghe and Marks 2009; Risse 2015). Leaders in Brussels and throughout Europe’s capitals are confronted with a new and challenging political reality. At a time when Europe faces some of its biggest economic, political, and social challenges since the Second World War, the integration project itself has become highly contested among the public. As a result, the EU finds itself faced with an existential challenge: the unprecedented development in supranational governance in recent years has led to greater public contestation, yet at the same time the Union is more reliant on public support for its continued legitimacy than ever before.

0.1 Key Questions The days of the permissive consensus are over, but the question is: what has come in its place? Pundits, journalists, and politicians suggest that we are currently dealing with a rise in Euroscepticism. Feelings of discontent and anger over Brussels’ divided response to economic downturn and refugee flows seem to have plummeted public support for the European project to an all-time low. This sentiment is illustrated by the former President of the 4

Introduction

European Council Herman Van Rompuy (2010: 10) who in his speech on 9 November 2010 in Berlin commemorating the Kristallnacht warned: ‘We have together to fight the danger of a new Euroscepticism. This is no longer the monopoly of a few countries. In every member state, there are people who believe their country can survive alone in the globalised world. It is more than an illusion: it is a lie.’ Prominent scholars of European integration, like Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks (2009), suggest that the permissive consensus may not necessarily have been replaced by all-out Euroscepticism, but rather that we are witnessing a constraining dissensus. This is partly because the deepening and widening of European integration has put questions of identity at the forefront of political debates (e.g. McLaren 2002, 2005; Kuhn 2015; Risse 2015). As a result, public opinion is deeply divided over the European project. Due to the fact that these identity-based concerns are increasingly mobilized by political parties in electoral and referendum contests, public preferences today constrain jurisdictional choices in Europe. These accounts of the nature of public opinion towards the EU are compelling in many ways, but also raise key questions. What exactly do we mean by Euroscepticism? Has it become a widespread phenomenon cutting across national and social lines? Is Euroscepticism primarily linked to people’s feelings of national identity, or is it rooted in socio-economic insecurity, or perhaps in both? Is Euroscepticism the driver of recent Eurosceptic party success, or do national conditions and evaluations play a more important role? And finally, when does Eurosceptic public opinion have the ability to constrain the preferences of national and European elites who shape jurisdictional choices in Europe? These are the key questions this book addresses. It suggests that in order to fully grasp public opinion and understand its causes and consequences for the integration process, we need to take a step back and revisit the precise nature of popular sentiment towards the EU. In the chapters that follow, I present a benchmark theory of EU public opinion. This theory suggests that the way people view the EU is intrinsically linked to the national conditions in which they find themselves as well as their comparison of these conditions to those at the EU level. It is not only a result of a comparison of objective conditions, but also of people’s subjective perceptions of these conditions. EU public opinion resembles a kaleidoscope mirroring people’s experiences with and evaluations of starkly different national political and economic contexts that together make up the Union. This book maintains that public opinion cannot be simply characterized as Eurosceptic or not, but rather consists of different types. This is important because: (a) the different types of sceptics display distinctive sets of issue positions, priorities, and reform preferences; (b) only certain types of scepticism have the ability to threaten the EU’s existence because they are linked to preferences for secession and support for hard Eurosceptic parties; and (c) the 5

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

existence of different types makes a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing Euroscepticism unlikely to be successful. This book suggests that Euroscepticism is such a diverse phenomenon partly because the Eurozone crisis has exacerbated structural imbalances within the EU and consequently made experiences with the Union more distinct than ever before. As the economic and political conditions within member states started to diverge further and further during the crisis, people’s comparisons of national and European conditions also moved further apart. While the EU aims to be united in diversity, this book suggests that in terms of Euroscepticism the EU is divided in its diversity.3 The fact that people’s benchmarks started to diverge more strongly as the Eurozone crisis unfolded is crucially important for our understanding of Euroscepticism. It helps us to grasp why support for the EU remains relatively high in bailout-battered member states that have experienced some of the worst effects of the crisis, such as Ireland or Spain for example, while Euroscepticism is steadily on the rise in countries that have benefited to an enormous extent from the Single Market and/or Euro, and weathered the crisis relatively well, such as Germany, Great Britain, or the Netherlands. The benchmark theory suggests that different kinds of Euroscepticism develop primarily within those contexts where people perceive that they have an exit option to EU membership. When national conditions are good, in economic and political terms, or at least when people perceive them as such, Euroscepticism is most likely to develop. When national conditions are bad, however, EU support is the most likely outcome as no viable alternative to membership is present. This pattern exists because people assign responsibility for economic and political performance not primarily to EU actors, but first and foremost to their national governments. This means that when national economic and political conditions are good, people attribute them to the actions of their national government and Euroscepticism is likely to increase. However, when conditions are bad, they are perceived to be a consequence of low quality leadership at home, and this is likely to increase support for the EU. Using the same theoretical framework, this book also helps to clarify patterns within countries. It suggests that Euroscepticism is not only the prerogative of those who are left behind by integration, or globalization more generally, but is also found among those who are relatively well off. What unites these different groups is the benchmark they employ. Eurosceptics believe that their country can survive, or will even thrive, outside of the EU. Euroscepticism is not necessarily a reflection of the extent to which they themselves stand to gain or lose from integration.

3

6

I wish to thank Tim Haughton for suggesting this formulation.

Introduction

The deeply divided nature of public opinion that this book uncovers has important consequences for the future of the European project. It puts European and political elites in a very difficult position. Public opinion is more responsive to real-world conditions today than in the past and this means that citizens demand solutions to the current European crises. Yet, the deep divisions within the public represent something of a policy conundrum. There is a growing rift between different types of sceptics within and across countries in terms of their policy demands. Some sceptics, especially within the North Western region, demand less intra-EU migration, while others, most notably in Southern and Central and Eastern European member states, wish to see more economic investment and employment programmes. It appears difficult to come up with policy proposals that could satisfy both these constituencies simultaneously, especially in the short run. Combatting unemployment and sluggish growth in the Union to revive struggling member states, especially in the South, would necessitate the introduction of some sort of monetary transfer or debt reduction that may require a further allocation of policy competences to the EU level (Stiglitz 2016). This is something that some sceptics do not wish to see. Moreover, the restriction of immigration to please some of the sceptics would violate one of the core principles of integration, namely the free movement of people. This in turn is not popular among other segments of the population. Although it might be possible to strike a balance between these different demands by introducing some sort of transfer mechanism or debt reduction that would allow poorer economies to grow and thus depress the demand for migration in the future, the fruits of such reforms would most likely only come to bear in the medium or long run. Given the importance of EU matters in domestic elections and for the re-election of national governments (De Vries 2007, 2010; Schneider 2013), current incumbents will most likely focus on their short-term political survival rather than medium- to long-term policy solutions. The way for the EU to deal with these different constituencies, this book suggests, is to fully embrace the diversity within its borders and provide more differentiated and flexible policy solutions.

0.2 What Lies Ahead This book revisits core questions about the nature of public opinion and its role in the integration process. Not surprisingly there is a burgeoning literature on public attitudes towards European integration (for an overview see Hobolt and De Vries 2016a). Early studies focused on EU support (see for example Inglehart 1970; Gabel 1998), whereas over the last decade or so scholarly attention has shifted to the study of opposition, namely 7

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Euroscepticism (see Spiering and Harmsen 2004; Hooghe 2007). Although the literature has made great strides in attempting to explain which factors determine whether people hold positive or negative attitudes towards the EU, the precise conceptualization and measurement of support and scepticism has received much less scholarly attention. This book aims to remedy this by developing a benchmark theory of public opinion towards the EU. This theoretical approach builds on recent insights from behavioural economics and social psychology. By analysing existing survey data, complementing and crossvalidating it with newly collected survey data as well as combining it with novel experimental data, the book provides a systematic account of (a) how people’s EU attitudes are structured, (b) how they vary across time and space, (c) how they have very different behavioural implications, and (d) how they might constrain the room to manoeuvre of European and national elites. It does so by taking a Europe-wide approach. This allows for a thorough understanding of the continuity and change in public sentiment towards Europe. That said, at times, the book draws on specific country examples to clarify the bigger picture. The book is divided into five parts. Part I discusses the recent surge in Euroscepticism. Chapter 1 suggests that recent trends in public opinion are difficult to reconcile with existing explanations of EU support and scepticism, most notably the utilitarian and identity explanations. The chapter outlines how the benchmark theory developed in this book can help us to understand these recent trends. It also highlights how the theory builds on, yet clearly deviates from, existing work highlighting the importance of national conditions for EU public opinion. Part II provides a fine-grained conceptualization of EU public opinion. Chapter 2 introduces the benchmark theory of EU scepticism and support. The chapter suggests that the nature of public opinion towards European integration is both multidimensional and multilevel in nature. The core insight underlying the benchmark theory is intuitive and simple: public opinion towards Europe is based on a comparison between the benefits of the status quo of membership and those associated with an alternative state, namely one’s country being outside the EU. This comparison is coined the EU differential. When people compare the benefits, they evaluate both the outcomes (policy evaluations) and the system that produces them (regime evaluations). Not only does this chapter present a fine-grained conceptualization of what it means to be an EU supporter or sceptic, it also develops a careful empirical measurement strategy and cross-validates the measurement with a variety of existing and newly developed data sources. Chapter 3 demonstrates that European public opinion is responsive to changes in real-world conditions and moves in predictable ways. The analysis combines natural experimental and survey experimental data to show that EU support and scepticism react to both national and European events. This 8

Introduction

EU minus national regime evaluations

underlines the importance of conceptualizing EU public opinion in terms of a comparison of national and European evaluations. Moreover, the findings support the intuition outlined in Chapter 2 that people are able to distinguish the policies that a system provides from the way the system operates. Finally, the chapter shows that the public is responsive regardless of the level of political sophistication that individuals exhibit. Part III of the book presents a novel typology of EU support and scepticism that captures public opinion in its full complexity. Chapter 4 suggests that public opinion can be divided into four types: Exit Scepticism, Regime Scepticism, Policy Scepticism, and Loyal Support. These types are based on a combination of people’s EU and national regime and policy evaluations as displayed in Figure 0.1. Exit sceptics perceive the policies and regime of the alternative state—their country being outside—as preferable to the status quo of EU membership. They thus oppose the EU because they view that a more viable alternative political system exits, namely their nation state. The opposite type, loyal supporters, holds more positive EU policy and regime evaluations vis-à-vis national ones. Loyal supporters approve of the EU because they see regime and policy benefits from EU membership. Regime and policy sceptics sit in between these two polar opposites. While regime sceptics evaluate the way the rules and procedures operate at the EU level as less positive compared to those of the alternative state, their country being outside, they do feel that EU membership entails significant policy benefits. The reverse holds for policy sceptics who are sceptical of policies at the EU level but supportive of the regime. These different types capture the heterogeneity in public opinion positive

Loyal support

Policy scepticism negative

positive

Regime scepticism

Exit scepticism

negative

EU minus national policy evaluations Figure 0.1. A typology of support and scepticism

9

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

found throughout the Union. The typology suggests that people may either be ambivalent about the EU as they simultaneously like and dislike certain aspects, or display unified preferences in that they either embrace or reject both the EU regime and policies. The distinction between ambivalent and unified attitudes is important as people who are more ambivalent are less likely to act upon their attitudes in elections or referendums as Part IV will demonstrate. These differences between the various types of scepticism or support would be lost if the multidimensional and multilevel nature of public opinion were not taken into account. Chapters 4 and 5 demonstrate that the benchmark theory can account for the heterogeneity in EU public opinion both across and within member states. Chapter 4 shows that the four types of support and scepticism characterize different populations facing starkly diverse national conditions. The chapter shows that when national economic and political conditions are good, scepticism is high, but that when national economic and political conditions are bad, support is most pronounced. This is because people attribute policy responsibility for these conditions primarily to national governments rather than the EU. In contexts characterized by relatively good national conditions a viable exit option to EU membership exists, while in contexts with bad national conditions exit is not feasible. Chapter 5 shows that the different types of support and scepticism also characterize very different people within member states. Loyal supporters, policy, regime, and exit sceptics differ in terms of socio-demographic background and issue stances and priorities. The chapter shows that the arch Eurosceptic, the exit sceptic, is not as economically deprived as much of the existing literature would suggest, but rather is economically relatively well off. What is more, different types of sceptics within the same country hold starkly different issue priorities and positions. These findings are important because they suggest that European and national elites face the difficult task of developing a policy response that can appease all of these constituencies simultaneously. This will most likely prove to be very difficult. Part IV examines the behavioural consequences of belonging to different types of support and scepticism. Chapter 6 examines the link between the different types and the likelihood of casting a ballot for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliament elections. Importantly, it demonstrates close ties between belonging to the exit scepticism type and electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties that reject the EU project. Moreover, the chapter shows that issue priorities matter. Sceptics, who care mostly about immigration,4 mostly

4 Note that on the basis of the limitations of the data sources used in this book, I am not able to differentiate between different types of immigration or migrant groups. I refer to immigration and migration generally without reference to groups.

10

Introduction

reside in the North Western region of the Union, and display the highest support for hard Eurosceptic parties on the right of the political spectrum, while those who care mostly about unemployment and the economy, primarily residing in the South, are less likely overall to vote for a Eurosceptic party. If they do, they support a soft Eurosceptic party on the left. Finally, the chapter shows that choices for hard Eurosceptic parties are mainly fuelled by concerns over immigration and a desire for more national control. Chapter 7 examines the voting choices in the Brexit referendum and EU referendum voting intentions in the other member states among the different types of support and scepticism. The chapter shows that the benchmark theory helps us to understand voting decisions in the Brexit referendum and the possible outcomes of membership referendums in other countries. Exit scepticism coincides with Brexit support and an intention to vote leave in an EU membership referendum more generally. Loyal support is most strongly associated with support for one’s country to remain a member of the EU, while regime and policy scepticism are associated to a lesser extent. An additional important finding of the chapter is that support for remaining in the EU across member states increased after the Brexit result. Although it is difficult to make causal claims, this might point to the fact that as the prospect of the alternative state, one’s country being outside, becomes a reality, and the possible costs associated with leaving manifest themseleves, the perceived benefits of the status quo of EU membership may seem higher. This suggests that it is crucial for EU officials to make sure that if a country decides to leave the EU, it receives a deal that is considered worse than their current membership. If not, the exit of one country might spark off membership referendums in other member states. The final and fifth part of the book provides a reflection on how public opinion might shape and affect the future of the European project. Chapter 8 examines public support for different EU reform proposals across member states. Based on a novel experimental approach to survey research, conjoint experiments, it examines the trade-offs that people face when considering reform proposals. In addition, it delves deeper into people’s preferences for reform by means of a novel survey about reform of the Eurozone. The results presented in Chapter 8 suggest that people on average prefer a Union that is cheaper, takes key decisions via citizen referendums, and focuses on issues relating to peace and security. Yet, important differences exist between different types of support and scepticism, especially in how people want the EU to be governed, and what policy objectives should be pursued. Interestingly, there is considerable disagreement between ambivalent and more unified sceptics on these matters, but similarity between different types within individual member states. Finally, when it comes to reform of the Eurozone, unified sceptics and supporters agree that member 11

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

states in financial trouble should receive tough treatment from the EU, while ambivalent sceptics wish to see more EU financial assistance for struggling member states. The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the book and outlines some of the key dilemmas and reform options that European and national government leaders will face when they aim to address Euroscepticism. This book has demonstrated that public opinion in the EU is no longer characterized by a permissive consensus, rather it is highly responsive and deeply divided in nature. This responsive nature of public opinion provides elites with a crucial impetus to craft policies in line with what the people want. Yet, the divided nature of public opinion also suggests that a one-size-fits-all response to Eurosceptic sentiment will not work. How can the EU move forward? Although no blueprint for reform exists, this chapter suggests that muddling through or federalizing the Union might not be the best ways to address Euroscepticism. In order to survive the current crises, the EU needs to pay closer attention to the diversity enclosed within its borders. Due to the diversity in public opinion both within and across member states, the future of the European project crucially depends on the extent to which its institutions and elites can be flexibly responsive to a divided public that keeps an ever-closer eye on them. The most constructive way forward for the EU, this book suggests, is to champion its diversity as its strength rather than weakness and to develop into a more flexible Union.

12

1 What Is the Matter with Europe? The Puzzles of Euroscepticism

Without public support, Europe cannot go forward. This is something I know all leaders, in Brussels and in our member states, realise acutely. Herman Van Rompuy, 17 June 2015, Brussels

Bruised by the Eurozone and refugee crises, large parts of the public have come to doubt the competence and integrity of their political and financial masters in Brussels and at home. European elites today, much like Europe’s founding fathers before them, believe that they are creating an ‘ever-closer Union’ that enriches the lives of ordinary people and fosters strong bonds with the European project. The five presidents’ report from 2015 drafted by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with the President of the Euro Summit, Donald Tusk, the President of the Euro group, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, is a case in point. It laid out ambitious plans about how to deepen the economic, monetary, and political integration of Europe for the decade to come (Juncker et al. 2015). The recommendations entailed in the report stand in stark contrast, however, with the election and referendum outcomes during the same time period. Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliament elections showed their strongest electoral gains ever, and the referendum outcomes in the Netherlands and France concerning the Constitutional Treaty in 2005 and in Great Britain on EU membership in 2016 demonstrated the constraining effects of growing Eurosceptic sentiment. Eurosceptic parties have also gained a strong foothold in domestic elections at the regional or national level, at least in part because of their success in EU referendums or European Parliamentary elections (De Vries 2010). National elites face popular Eurosceptic challengers who are watching their every move in domestic parliaments. National government leaders thus find themselves

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

faced with a harsh trade-off between effective crisis management at the European level and securing their next electoral victory at home (Schneider 2013, 2017). For a long time, public opinion was seen as a form of passive support for the activities of national government leaders in Brussels based on the belief that they would safeguard national interests. Public opinion was characterized by a permissive consensus (Lindberg and Scheingold 1970). Times have changed. European citizens today—in ever-larger numbers—are resisting what political and economic masters deem to be best for them. While the EU today relies on public support perhaps more than ever before, the European project itself is increasingly contested.

1.1 The Puzzling Rise of Euroscepticism The recent surge in Eurosceptic sentiment, expressed in European and national elections as well as in European referendums, is in many ways puzzling from our current understanding of EU public opinion. This section shows that the recent trends in public opinion cannot be easily accounted for by current explanations of support, most notably the utilitarian and identity explanations. In the academic literature aiming to understand the contours of public opinion, support is commonly perceived as the result of either economic interest or identity considerations. The utilitarian model understands EU support as a form of cost–benefit analysis (for an overview see Gabel 1998). Two schools of scholarship have linked economic conditions and benefits to support for membership in the EU. First, scholars have tied citizen support for the EU to the ups and downs of the business cycle. Inspired by models of economic voting, these authors argue that support should be higher in countries with improved trade and favourable economic conditions due to the Single Market or in countries that receive structural funds (Eichenberg and Dalton 1993; Anderson and Kaltenthaler 1996; Carrubba 1997; Gabel 1998). Second, based on human capital theories, scholars maintain that support for membership increases with skill levels and access to capital. The removal of barriers to trade allows firms to shift production across borders and increases job insecurity for low skilled workers whereas high skilled workers and those with capital can take advantage of the opportunities resulting from a more liberalized European market. As a result, highly skilled workers should be more supportive of integration compared to their lower skilled counterparts (Anderson and Reichert 1995; Gabel and Palmer 1995; Gabel 1998; Tucker et al. 2002). A second strand of research on public opinion highlights that the European project is not only about market integration, but also about the creation of a sense of European identity and mutual obligation (McLaren 2002, 2005; Hooghe and Marks 2005, 2009; Kuhn 2015). Two factors are seen as core drivers 14

What Is the Matter with Europe?

of support for the EU, namely people’s attachment to their nation and their perceptions of people from other cultures. Relating to the former, studies have shown that Euroscepticism coincides with strong feelings of national identity and pride (Carey 2002). Euroscepticism is most pronounced among individuals who conceive of their national identity as exclusive of other territorial identities compared to those who have multiple nested identities (Hooghe and Marks 2005, 2009). Euroscepticism is significantly weaker among those who are transnationally mobile or have been exposed to living in other EU countries (Kuhn 2015). A second set of studies has demonstrated that Euroscepticism also coincides with negative attitudes towards minority groups and immigrants (McLaren 2002, 2005; De Vreese and Boomgaarden 2005). Both the utilitarian and identity perspectives are crucially important for our understanding of public opinion towards the EU, yet recent developments such as the outcome of the Brexit vote or the rise of Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliament elections give rise to important empirical puzzles that both approaches might not be able to fully address. Let me discuss these in turn. The first puzzle relates to the fact that the recent rise in Euroscepticism is most pronounced in countries that have weathered the Eurozone crisis very well and have arguably benefited most from the single currency (Stiglitz 2016). Figure 1.1 displays the electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties

Hungary Portugal Finland Greece

Italy Sweden Great Britain Netherlands Austria

France Denmark

Germany Czech Republic Poland Belgium Slovenia Estonia Slovakia Bulgaria Cyprus Romania 10

20 Hard Eurosceptic vote in %

30

Figure 1.1. Hard Eurosceptic party support in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections Note: Figure entries are the vote shares of hard Eurosceptic parties who received at least one seat in the 2014 European Parliament. Source: Author’s own calculations based on the official results (European Parliament 2014).

15

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. Hard Eurosceptic parties are those that reject EU membership and wish for their country to secede the Union (Taggart and Szczerbiak 2004). Examples can be found on the right of the political spectrum, like Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, or the United Kingdom Independence Party, but also on the left; take the examples of the Communist Party in Greece, the United Democratic Coalition in Portugal, or the Left Party in Sweden. Furthermore, hard Eurosceptic parties can be difficult to classify as left or right: this is the case for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy, for instance. Figure 1.1 presents the vote shares obtained in the 2014 European Parliamentary election for all hard Eurosceptic parties in different member states. Some member states like Luxembourg, Spain, or Malta do not feature in this figure, because no hard Eurosceptic party won seats in these countries. The business cycle predictions based on the utilitarian model suggest hard Eurosceptic parties would do well in countries that did not perform well economically. Yet, when we look more closely at the results a quite different pattern emerges. Countries that have done relatively well during the Eurozone crisis, like Austria, Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands, or Sweden, show the highest levels of electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties. Indeed, hard Eurosceptic support is considerable in crisis-struck countries like Italy for example, and to a lesser extent in Greece and Portugal, yet it is practically nonexistent in countries such as Ireland, Spain, or Cyprus that were arguably equally hard hit in the crisis (Peet and La Guardia 2014). These results do not sit well with predictions based on the utilitarian model. That said, one could argue that these patterns in support for hard Eurosceptic parties might reflect the debtor–creditor relationships that emerged in the Eurozone crisis. Given that the Euro had not been introduced when many of the utilitarian studies were written, debtor–creditor relationships could constitute a new way of understanding support through the lens of cost–benefit analysis. This extension may look promising at first, but upon closer inspection is problematic. Countries like Denmark and Sweden, where hard Eurosceptic party support is very high, are not part of the Eurozone and so do not contribute to the European Stability Mechanism, which was designed to safeguard and provide instant access to financial assistance programmes for member states of the Eurozone in financial difficulty.1 Moreover, support for hard Eurosceptic parties is low in Germany and even non-existent in Luxembourg, two of the biggest net contributors to the European Stability Mechanism. The outcome of the 2014 European Parliament election thus presents an important empirical puzzle for the utilitarian model.

1

16

For more information on the structure see European Stability Mechanism (2017).

What Is the Matter with Europe?

A second empirical puzzle for the utilitarian model emerges when we look at patterns within countries, for example by closer inspection of the 2016 Brexit referendum result. Great Britain as a whole has fared well economically as a result of its membership, and, in comparison with other member states, the effects of the great recession have been rather mild. Despite these favourable economic conditions, however, a majority of British citizens opted to vote for their country to leave the EU. Many commentators and pundits have argued that this is due to deep economic inequalities characterizing the country. Leave support is seen as somewhat of a revolt among those who fail to benefit from European integration or globalization more generally (Goodwin and Heath 2016; see also Kriesi et al. 2008). First, district-level analyses point at a general divide between younger, professional members of the electorate living in London who favoured European membership, while poorer families living outside of major cities in areas with a historical dependence on manufacturing employment eye the continent with considerably more suspicion (Becker et al. 2017). Upon closer inspection, however, one can find important deviations from this pattern. Very rich areas in the South for example voted out, while poorer regions in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. Let me elaborate this puzzle with a concrete example. The polls leading up to the referendum suggested a small lead for the Remain side campaigning for Britain to stay inside the EU. As the results of the referendum started pouring in from around the country, a different picture started to emerge. The polls got it wrong. One of the results that made pundits and journalists think that the Leave camp might have swung it, was the result from Sunderland. Sunderland was one of the first results to come in and the Leave camp was expected to win. The margin of victory, however, was much larger than expected, with 61 per cent voting to leave and 39 per cent voting to remain in the EU.2 Sunderland represented a favourable context for a Leave win based on the utilitarian model. It has a large share of working class, manual workers, and lower income voters who displayed an appetite for Brexit for quite some time in the polls (Goodwin and Heath 2016; Hobolt 2016; Becker et al. 2017). Yet, the fact that the Leave vote was so far ahead could be seen as an indication that other contexts with less working class and lower income populations could follow suit. This was indeed the case. A majority of voters in the rich seaside resort of Bournemouth, for example, also voted to leave the EU, 45 per cent voted to remain and 55 per cent voted to leave. While Sunderland, according to pollsters, fits the profile of a Leave constituency with large shares of working class, manual workers and lower income voters who might not have gained from the Single Market, Bournemouth, like many other areas in the South that opted for Brexit, does not. By 2 For a discussion of the result in Sunderland, see, for example, Reuters, ‘Sunderland votes more strongly than expected to leave EU’, 24 June 2016.

17

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Brexit vote: Leave: 61 %, Remain 39 % Unemployment rate (2015): 8.0 % Average house price (2015): £115,102 Sunderland

Bournemouth

Brexit vote: Leave: 55 %, Remain 45 % Unemployment rate (2015): 1.2 % Average house price (2015): £232,256

Figure 1.2. A comparison of Sunderland and Bournemouth Sources: Bournemouth County Council (2015); Office of National Statistics (2015); Land Registry (2015); Financial Times (2016).

2015, Bournemouth had become the fastest-growing British city in the digital economy—ahead even of London. Between 2010 and 2013 for example, it experienced a growth in digital start-ups of 212 per cent.3 Bournemouth is a city with a thriving economy that employs many high skilled workers. Figure 1.2 compares the two cities, Sunderland and Bournemouth. The majority of both populations voted for the UK to leave the EU, but the characteristics of these populations could not be more diverse. House prices can serve as an important proxy for people’s wealth and unemployment levels for economic grievances (see for example Ansell 2014). In Sunderland, house prices are low and unemployment is high compared to the UK average. In Bournemouth, house prices are high and rising rapidly, and unemployment is comparatively low. Nonetheless, a majority of the Bournemouth population voted leave. While utilitarian concerns may surely have been important, they may not be the whole story. If economic grievances were the decisive factor

3 The digital industry around Bournemouth is commonly referred to as Britain’s Silicon Beach: see The Telegraph, ‘Bournemouth beats London as UK’s fastest-growing digital economy’, 5 February 2015.

18

What Is the Matter with Europe?

behind the vote, a larger share of people living Bournemouth, or in other areas in the South for that matter, should have voted to remain. This raises another important empirical puzzle for the utilitarian model, not only about its ability to explain variation in support across counties based on economic conditions, but also within countries based on variation in human capital. Scholars have suggested that intra-EU migration might have been an important driver of the Brexit referendum result (see for example Hobolt 2016; Clarke et al. 2017), although others are more sceptical (Becker et al. 2017). In line with the identity approach, one could argue that people’s feelings of national identity help us to solve the empirical puzzles associated with the recent rise in Euroscepticism that the utilitarian approach could not. The identity explanation suggests that people who are most opposed to the EU, and should therefore display a greater likelihood to vote for a Eurosceptic party or for their country to leave the EU, are those with an exclusive national attachment (McLaren 2002, 2005; Díez Medrano 2003; Hooghe and Marks 2005, 2009). Individuals who conceive of their national identity as exclusive of other territorial identities are likely to be considerably more Eurosceptic than those who have multiple and nested identities. This is because people with an exclusive national identity will see an international organization as a threat, as something that infringes on their sense of national belonging. Although this view seems compelling, Eurobarometer surveys, which have polled people’s views about European integration over a number of decades now, show that people’s feelings of exclusive identity have remained remarkably stable over the years (European Commission 2016a). Since the early 1990s, the survey has asked respondents if they feel national only, European only, or mixed. What is more, an examination of the relationship between people’s feelings of exclusive national identity and Eurosceptic vote shares in the 2014 European Parliamentary election suggests that the correlation is very weak. Figure 1.3 displays the share of those who state that they feel exclusively national against the vote share of hard Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliament election for each member state. When we explore the relationship between the share of people who identify as exclusively national and the electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties, we find little relationship between the two. In fact, in countries characterized by relatively high shares of those feeling exclusively national, we find very different levels of electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties. While in Great Britain the share of those voting for hard Eurosceptic parties is considerable, in Greece or Cyprus, where a large portion of the population also feels exclusively national, support for hard Eurosceptic parties is rather modest. Equally, we find that in countries like Ireland or Bulgaria, where the electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties is very low, the proportion of the population feeling exclusively national is quite high. Against this backdrop, it seems difficult to think that identity considerations are the determinants behind the recent spike in Eurosceptic sentiment. 19

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 40

Vote share hard Eurosceptic parties in %

France Denmark Italy

Sweden

30 Great Britain Netherlands

Austria

20 Hungary Finland

10

Germany Belgium

Luxembourg Malta Spain

20

Croatia

30

Greece

Czech Republic

Poland Estonia Slovenia

0

Portugal

Slovakia

Romania

Bulgaria

Lithuania Latvia

Cyprus

Ireland

50 40 Share exclusive nationalists in %

60

Figure 1.3. The relationship between feelings of exclusive national identity and hard Eurosceptic party support in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections Notes: Figure entries display countries as coordinates based on the share of respondents who feel exclusively national and the vote share of hard Eurosceptic parties who received at least one seat in the 2014 European Parliament. The correlation coefficient between the share of respondents who feel exclusively national and the vote share of hard Eurosceptic parties is very small and not statistically significant: Pearson’s R = 0.09 (p = 0.63). Sources: Author’s own calculations based on official results (European Parliament 2014) and Eurobarometer surveys conducted in 2014 (European Commission 2016a).

Yet, it could be the case that identities matter only when they are activated by political parties, especially those on the extreme right of the political spectrum (Hooghe and Marks 2009; Hutter and Grande 2014). This expectation closely fits the cueing explanation of EU public support. It is well established that political elites shape public support for the EU (Ray 2003; Hooghe and Marks 2005; Hobolt 2007; Hellström 2008; De Vries and Edwards 2009), although some studies have shown that this is a reciprocal process whereby parties both respond to and shape the views of their supporters (Gabel and Scheve 2007; Steenbergen et al. 2007). If people’s feelings of national identity need to be activated by political parties, we would expect that the share of those who feel exclusively national should show some affinity with the rise of extreme right parties. Following this logic, we might find a resolution for the puzzling rise of Euroscepticism when we consider the role of extreme right parties. In order to explore this more in-depth, I turn to evidence from the Dutch case. 20

What Is the Matter with Europe?

Arguably, the Netherlands has witnessed one of the most rapid rises of extreme right parties in recent decades (Pellikaan et al. 2007; De Vries et al. 2013). While support for the extreme right, for example the Centre Democrats, was initially low in the 1990s, it shot up in the 2002 election. In that campaign, a new political entrepreneur arrived on the scene, namely Pim Fortuyn. Fortuyn mainstreamed anti-immigrant and anti-EU sentiment in the Dutch political debate, but other positions he took proved more controversial (Pellikaan et al. 2003). He was killed by an animal rights activist just days before the 2002 election. His party, the List Pim Fortuyn, did not survive his death, and after a short stay in government lost the subsequent election in 2003. Yet, the anti-immigrant and anti-EU sentiment that Fortuyn had unleashed did not disappear from the Dutch political scene (Pellikaan et al. 2007; De Vries et al. 2013). This sentiment was mobilized by a new political entrepreneur, Geert Wilders, who rose to fame in the 2005 Constitutional Treaty referendum. Geert Wilders effectively combines an anti-Islam, antiimmigrant, and anti-EU message (Van der Pas et al. 2013). Ever since that referendum, his Party for Freedom has done extremely well in both national and European elections, and is a major force in the Dutch political landscape. The Dutch case thus constitutes a perfect testing ground for exploring if extreme right party success coincides with an activation of people’s feelings of exclusive national identity against the EU. To examine this, Figure 1.4 displays two time series. First, it shows the share of Dutch people who view themselves as exclusively national, based on the Eurobarometer surveys. Second, it shows the vote share for the different extreme right parties that have competed in Dutch elections: the Centre Democrats, List Pim Fortuyn, and Party for Freedom, over the same time period. The Dutch trends displayed in Figure 1.4 do not seem to lend much empirical support for the idea that extreme right parties activate feelings of exclusively national identity against the EU. The mechanism underlying the identity approach is that Euroscepticism is largely a function of the share of people who feel exclusively national, and that these identity considerations need to be mobilized against the EU by extreme right parties. Whilst there is a steady increase in extreme right party support in the Netherlands from the early 1990s until 2015, Dutch people on average feel less exclusively national over the same time period. I am not disputing that those who feel exclusively national are more likely to harbour Eurosceptic sentiment, but given that this share has been largely stable, or even decreased in the Netherlands, the recent rise in Euroscepticism seems likely to have other determinants than people’s feelings of an exclusive national identity. One could maintain that activation here should be understood as the mobilization of feelings of exclusive national identity which previously lay dormant, rather than with an increase in the share of those identifying as exclusively national. Although this may 21

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 50 45 40

Percentage

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

2015

Years Feel national only

Extreme right vote share

Figure 1.4. Trends in feelings of exclusive national identity and extreme right vote shares in the Netherlands Note: Figure entries represent the share of Dutch respondents who feel exclusively national and the vote shares of extreme right parties that obtained seats (Centre Democrats, List Pim Fortuyn, and Party for Freedom) in Dutch elections in the time period. Sources: Calculations based on Eurobarometer (European Commission 2016a) and official Dutch election results (Kiesraad 2016).

sound persuasive at first, it is hard to see how this interpretation fits the Dutch findings presented above that document a decrease in the share of those with an exclusive national identity. Like utilitarian concerns, exclusive national identity considerations may not fully explain the developments in public sentiment about the EU in recent years. It is important to stress that I am not disputing that both the utilitarian and identity explanations are important, they clearly are. Rather what I am maintaining here is that they may not account for the recent rise in Euroscepticism. I suggest that a resolution for the empirical puzzles discussed so far emerges when the idea of benchmarks is taken into account. A benchmark approach helps us to understand why hard Eurosceptic party support is high in countries with good economic conditions that have weathered the Eurozone crisis relatively well and that support for Brexit was high in both economically deprived as well as more prosperous areas of Britain. What these different groups of voters have in common is not a greater sense of economic grievance or an exclusive national identity, but a positive national benchmark that makes the status quo of EU membership look like a bad deal. 22

What Is the Matter with Europe?

1.2 Benchmarks as a Crucial Piece of the Puzzle The core idea underlying the benchmark theory is simple. People’s attitudes towards Europe are based on a comparison between the benefits of the status quo of membership and those associated with an alternative state, namely one’s country being outside the EU. By conceptualizing public opinion towards the EU as a relational concept that is both multidimensional and multilevel in nature, the benchmark approach challenges three core assumptions that have characterized most of the EU support literature over the past decades, namely that: • people’s opinions towards the EU can be described on a one-dimensional scale ranging from scepticism to support; • people’s opinions towards the EU can be conceptualized largely in isolation from people’s opinions about their nation state; • people’s opinions towards the EU can be characterized as unified rather than ambivalent in nature. I am not implying that no author has challenged some of these assumptions, scholars including myself have, and I will discuss how my approach relates to theirs in the next section, but what I am suggesting here is that we have not gone far enough in integrating the critiques of existing approaches into one overarching alternative framework. The benchmark theory provides such an alternative framework. Moreover, it allows for the formulation of testable expectations about how different types of support and scepticism are linked to people’s voting behaviour in elections, referendums, and their preferences for EU reform. The benchmark theory suggests that looking only at people’s EU evaluations in order to classify individuals, or in fact entire populations, as EU supportive or sceptic is insufficient. What matters is how these European evaluations relate to national ones. The extent to which people are expected to support or oppose the EU crucially depends on how they benchmark the perceived benefits of the current status quo—their country’s EU membership—against the perceived benefits associated with an alternative state, their country being outside the EU. Because the alternative state is largely unknown, people are likely to rely on their evaluations of national conditions to inform them about the benefits of the alternative state. Let me illustrate why conceptualizing EU support and scepticism as relational concepts linking people’s EU and national evaluations is so important. I will do so by means of a comparison of British and Spanish public opinion. While British public opinion is generally characterized as the most sceptical of all EU member states, Spanish public opinion even after the Eurozone crisis is considered as one of the most supportive within the EU (Díez Medrano 2003; 23

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Eurosceptic support in %

40

30

20

10

0

Spain Leave support

United Kingdom Eurosceptic party support

Figure 1.5. Leave and Eurosceptic party support in Great Britain and Spain Note: Figure entries represent the share of respondents in the August 2016 eupinions survey stating that they would vote for their country to leave the EU and the share of Eurosceptic party support in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections of parties who received at least one seat. Sources: Own calculations based on official 2014 European Parliament election results (European Parliament 2014) and eupinions August 2016.

De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). These general expectations about the British and Spanish publics are reflected in support for hard Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliamentary election, and public support for leaving the EU if a referendum were held today as shown in Figure 1.5. The latter results are based on a survey, eupinions, that I conducted together with Isabell Hoffmann on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation in August 2016 (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). While no hard Eurosceptic party received popular support in Spain, over a quarter of British voters voted for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Also, the share of people who state that they would vote for their country to leave the EU if a referendum were held today is more than double in Great Britain compared to Spain. When we compare the average levels of EU evaluations in Great Britain and Spain, a very different picture emerges. In the eupinions data from August 2016, people were asked if they approved or disapproved of the overall policy direction at the European level and if they were satisfied with the way democracy works at the European level. While the former taps into policy evaluations, the latter captures regime evaluations. In Chapter 2, I will argue that both are important for support and scepticism, and 24

What Is the Matter with Europe? EU policy evaluations

EU regime evaluations

60

Percentage

40

20

0 Spain

Great Britain

Figure 1.6. Approval of policies and regime at the EU Level in Great Britain and Spain Note: Figure entries represent the share of respondents in the August 2016 eupinions survey stating that they approve of the overall policy direction in the EU (EU policy evaluations) and that they are satisfied with democracy at the EU level (EU regime evaluations). Source: eupinions August 2016.

cross-validate these measures against items included in the European Social Survey and European Election Survey (these display very high correlations with existing measures). Figure 1.6 provides the average EU policy and regime evaluations in Great Britain and Spain. It shows that contrary to what we know about these publics, EU policy and regime evaluations are much higher in Great Britain compared to Spain. How can we account for this pattern? We can make sense of it by considering people’s EU policy and regime evaluations in concert with their national ones. People can be characterized as supportive of the EU when the perceived benefits of membership exceed those associated with their country, while they are characterized as EU sceptical when the perceived benefits of the status quo are smaller compared to national ones. This reasoning suggests that we should not only look at people’s EU evaluations, but compare them to national ones. Figure 1.7 does precisely that. It shows the shares of British and Spanish respondents who approve of the overall policy direction and satisfaction with democracy at the EU and national level respectively. These answers are based on responses to identical questions that were included in the eupinions survey, a set relating to the national as well as a set relating to the European level. The comparison shows that while the British on average hold more positive EU policy and regime evaluations compared to the Spanish, their evaluations 25

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Policy evaluations

Regime evaluations

Percentage

60

40

20

0

Spain

United Kingdom National

Spain

United Kingdom

European

Figure 1.7. Approval of policies and regime at the national and EU level in Great Britain and Spain Note: Figure entries represent the share of respondents in the August 2016 eupinions survey stating that they approve of the overall policy direction in their country or the EU (policy evaluations) and that they are satisfied with democracy at the national or EU level (regime evaluations). Source: eupinions August 2016.

of policies and the regime at the national level are even more positive than their European evaluations. The reverse holds true for the Spanish public. Although the Spanish public on average holds less positive evaluations of policies and the regime at the European level compared to the British, their national policy and regime evaluations are much more negative than their EU evaluations. This comparison of people’s EU and national evaluations reveals that the British public on average can be classified as Eurosceptic, while the Spanish public on average can be classified as EU supportive. If we had only relied on people’s EU evaluations, we would have not been sensitive to the complexities underlying EU public opinion. We would have concluded that the British are more supportive of the EU compared to the Spanish, a conclusion that arguably carries little face validity.

1.3 Relationship to Existing Approaches The benchmark theory of EU public opinion extends three existing bodies of work. First, it provides a precise theoretical mechanism that helps to understand how national contexts shape public opinion towards the EU, at both the 26

What Is the Matter with Europe?

aggregate and individual level. Existing work has demonstrated that national conditions matter for EU support (Anderson 1998; Sánchez-Cuenca 2000; Rohrschneider 2002; Kritzinger 2003; Rohrschneider and Loveless 2010). Specifically, this work suggests that domestic political institutions and performance are important drivers of support for European integration (see also Hobolt and De Vries 2016a). In its simplest version, the argument is that support for integration depends on national factors as citizens overall lack knowledge about the EU, and thus rely on national proxies, such as government performance, about which they have more information (Anderson 1998; Kritzinger 2003). Related to this, others have argued that national political performance affects people’s support for further integration. For example, Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca (2000) argues and empirically substantiates that those citizens who are dissatisfied with the performance at the national level are more willing to transfer sovereignty to the EU level. Robert Rohrschneider (2002) shows that citizens who consider their national democratic institutions to be working well display much lower levels of EU support irrespective of economic performance evaluations, as they perceive politics at the European level to be democratically deficient. Finally, Robert Rohrschneider and Matthew Loveless (2010) suggest that the exact content of the yardstick, either economic or political, used by citizens to evaluate the EU crucially depends on the level of national prosperity. Whereas citizens in less affluent nations evaluate the EU mainly on the basis of economic performance, in more affluent nations publics rely mostly on political criteria, such as the functioning of their national democracies, as a yardstick to measure the EU’s perceived democracy deficit against. These approaches are important, but fail to provide a precise mechanism that can account for how benchmarks exactly function to shape the attitude formation process. What is more, they present fundamentally different conceptions of how benchmarks work. For example, while Christopher Anderson (1998) suggests that people’s evaluations of national conditions serve as a proxy to deal with informational shortfalls about the EU, Ignacio SánchezCuenca (2000) conceives of them as a lens through which people view the benefits of more political and economic integration. These different conceptions actually lead to diametrically opposite expectations about the relationship between people’s perceptions of national conditions and their support for the EU. While Anderson expects people who hold positive national evaluations to support the EU more, Sánchez-Cuenca expects the opposite. What both approaches have in common, however, is that they conceive of people’s national evaluations as predictors of EU evaluations. Thinking of multilevel public opinion in this one-directional way by suggesting that national evaluations determine European ones rather than the reverse, undoubtedly raises concerns about the direction of causality. Could the opposite pattern not also 27

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be true, that is to say could people’s European evaluations affect their national evaluations as well? Research shows that individuals, particularly those who are politically aware, are capable of distinguishing between EU and national institutions when making their evaluations (Karp et al. 2003). Against this backdrop and given that politics in Europe is nowadays characterized by a multilevel interplay between European and national politics, a two-sided flow of causality seems more appropriate. Let me provide a concrete example to illustrate this. Take the Italian case for example. In line with Sánchez-Cuenca’s (2000) important work, we know that support for the EU has traditionally been very high in Italy. This is because people were dissatisfied with the failings of their own system, especially with widespread corruption. Brussels’ handling of the Eurozone crisis, as well as their restrictions on the Italian response to the banking crisis, have made the European evaluations of many Italians much more negative (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016a, 2016b). People’s evaluations of their own system may have improved as a consequence. In other words, people do not only evaluate the EU through a national lens, but they also view the national level through a prism of European developments. The benchmark theory conceives of public opinion as the comparison between people’s EU and national evaluations. As such, people’s national evaluations are themselves part-and-parcel of the way in which people view and evaluate the EU level, and vice versa. Second, the benchmark theory can help us understand why recent trends in public opinion vary so much across the different regions of the EU (Kriesi 2016; Otjes and Katsanidou 2017; see also Lubbers and Scheepers 2005, 2010) and over time (Van Elsas et al. 2016). Simon Otjes and Alexia Katsanidou (2017), for example, show that in the Southern European debtor states Euroscepticism has very strong economic components, while in Northern European creditor states Euroscepticism has a second relevant dimension based on cultural issues, such as immigration. Similarly, Hanspeter Kriesi (2016) suggests that Euroscepticism in member states in North Western Europe is strongest among those pockets of the population that support what he coins New Right parties like the National Front, for example, while in Southern Europe it is strongest among those supporting the New Left.4 According to him, in Central Eastern European member states Euroscepticism has gained less public and political traction. Finally, Erika Van Elsas and her colleagues (2016) suggest that economic and cultural considerations matter for Euroscepticism: economic considerations matter more for left-wing and the cultural more for right-wing citizens. Yet, the influence of cultural aspects might have become more pronounced over time. The benchmark theory 4 Although Kriesi (2016) suggests that support for these parties is predominantly based on issues such as immigration and austerity that are only partially related to the EU.

28

What Is the Matter with Europe?

allows us to replace these proper names with variables to formulate precise predictions about where Euroscepticism is most likely to develop, as well as about differences both within member states and also over time. Finally, the benchmark theory of EU public opinion builds on the literature on state preferences for integration that have fed some of the grand theories of European integration (Milward 1992; Moravcsik 1998). These approaches draw our attention to the importance of national conditions in shaping state preferences for European integration and policy cooperation (Katzenstein 1985; Stone Sweet and Sandholtz 1997; Moravcsik 1998; Mattli 1999; Díez Medrano 2003; Dimitrakapoulos and Kassim 2005; Archer and Nugent 2006; Aspinwall 2007; Copsey and Haughton 2009). Juan Díez Medrano (2003), for example, highlights the role of major historical events and suggests that differences in support for European integration among elites and the public in Germany, Great Britain, and Spain reflect the degree to which each country was able to consolidate its power outside the Union. Peter Katzenstein (1985) suggests that small states tend to favour integration because of the trading openness of their economies. Andrew Moravcsik (1998) and Walter Mattli (1999) extend this idea to intra-EU trade dependence more generally. Mark Aspinwall (2007) empirically shows that governments of member states that are beneficiaries of EU funds and payments have an incentive to support funding measures in the Council to make sure that money keeps flowing. Nathaniel Copsey and Tim Haughton (2009) suggest that what these approaches have in common is that they explain state preferences for further integration through the prism of national conditions. The benchmark theory takes a similar starting point to explain the contours, causes, and consequences of public opinion. What is more, it also allows us to develop a better understanding of how differences in public opinion both within and across member states may matter for the development of state preferences and how public opinion might constrain these preferences.

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Part II The Nature of Support and Scepticism

2 In or Out? A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism

The countries of Europe are not strong enough individually to be able to guarantee prosperity and social development for their peoples. The States of Europe must therefore form a federation or a European entity. Jean Monnet, 5 August 1943, Algiers

Imagine that Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European project, had fallen asleep in a meeting of the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s and had awoken today. What would his reaction be? At first sight he would be proud of Europe’s accomplishments of securing years of peace and prosperity. Moreover, the web of European institutions today looks much like his dream of a federal Union. Upon closer inspection, however, he would likely be disappointed. The notion of a united Europe is increasingly contested. More and more citizens as well as individual member states are turning their back on Europe. This has not always been the case. For decades, public opinion was largely supportive. As long as elites serve national interests through cooperation at the European level, integration can be seen as nothing to worry about. The establishment of the Maastricht Treaty marks something of a watershed. The Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 in Maastricht. It was the subsequent ratification process triggering a variety of referendums that caught attention. Although the Treaty was easily ratified in Ireland with 68.7 per cent of the public voting in favour, only a slim majority of French voters supported the Treaty, while the Danes, with a narrow margin of 50.7 per cent, rejected it. The Danish public put a brake on its government activities at the European level. After the defeat, the Danish government secured four opt-outs from the Treaty, regarding the Economic and Monetary Union, Union Citizenship, Justice and Home Affairs, and Common Defence (Adler-Nissen 2008, 2009), and

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

called for a new referendum on 18 May 1993. This time around 56.8 per cent of the Danish public voted in favour of the Treaty. The initial Danish defeat and the narrow victory in France marked the beginning of societal and scholarly attention on the role of public opinion in the integration process. Not only did the Maastricht Treaty ratification referendums put a spotlight on public opinion, the Treaty itself was considered an important integrative step (Dehousse 1994). It marked the transition of the EU from an international organization primarily concerned with trade liberalization to an economic and political union with wide-ranging competences. Most importantly perhaps, the Treaty established the European Monetary Union that paved the way for the introduction of the single currency and the establishment of a European Central Bank. As the EU started to move away from a largely elite-led diplomatic project to a system of multilevel governance, in which member states share policy making with supranational institutions, the public started to notice. Since the early 2000s, we have witnessed increasing public contention over European matters in election campaigns and party and media discourse (Hooghe et al. 2002; De Vreese 2003; Van der Eijk and Franklin 2004; Tillman 2004, 2012; Kriesi et al. 2006, 2008; De Vries, 2007; Steenbergen et al. 2007; De Vries and Edwards 2009; Hobolt 2009, to name only a few). The shift in the power balance between national governments and supranational institutions started to influence the attitudes and behaviour of ordinary citizens. The deep economic and political interdependence in Europe, created especially but not exclusively by the single currency, became vividly clear even to the least politically aware citizens in the Eurozone crisis (Hobolt and Tilley 2014; Cramme and Hobolt 2016). What started as a Greek sovereign debt crisis swiftly turned into a European crisis. Deep rifts over the way to handle the crisis started to emerge in the European bloc. Almost a decade later, Eurosceptic sentiment seems no longer a phenomenon tied to small groups of extremists. It has become mainstream. Although the EU has experienced many crises before, I suggest that the current situation breaks from past experiences in at least one vital respect: future steps in the integration process can no longer be taken without popular consent. This change from a permissive to a responsive public affects the ability of elites to respond, for example by making Treaty change more difficult. Leaders in Brussels and across Europe’s capitals have to keep a close watch on public opinion in order to secure re-election and deal with Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs scrutinizing their every move (De Vries and Hobolt 2012). This chapter proceeds as follows. In a first step, I provide a short overview of the existing work on public opinion towards the EU, and outline some key shortcomings. In a second and third step, I present a benchmark theory of public opinion, and suggest that EU support and scepticism are multidimensional concepts that should be understood as opinions towards the multilevel 34

In or Out?

governance structure that characterizes policy making in the EU today.1 Finally, the chapter concludes by introducing an empirical measurement strategy of benchmark support and scepticism, and cross-validating it against a variety of existing measures.

2.1 The Nature of Support and Scepticism The Maastricht Treaty and its popular rejection in Denmark mark a turning point in the study of public opinion towards European integration. Since the mid-1990s, many books and articles have been written exploring the nature of public opinion towards Europe (see Hobolt and De Vries 2016a for an overview). While initially public opinion scholars focused on explaining support for the EU, the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in Dutch and French referendums in 2005 led them to focus more on opposition to the EU, popularly coined as Euroscepticism. What both waves have in common is that they focused almost exclusively on the determinants of public opinion, either cost– benefit or identity considerations, while paying less attention to the conceptualization of it. Public opinion towards the EU is most commonly captured as a single latent dimension of evaluations of the process of European integration or one’s country’s membership in the EU (for a useful overview see Hobolt and De Vries 2016a). Even though we have witnessed a change from studying support to studying scepticism, scholars mostly use the same items to measure both by simply reversing the coding of the variables (e.g. Lubbers and Scheepers 2010). Empirically, studies capture support or scepticism by means of a specific survey question tapping into people’s support for EU membership, namely if people think that their country’s membership is a good thing, is a bad thing, or is neither. This is partly due to pragmatic reasons as this question has been part of the Eurobarometer for the longest time. Yet, this measure treats people’s evaluations of the EU as one-dimensional and without reference to their evaluations of the national level, an approach which is problematic. For example, do people actually hold clear-cut pro or anti opinions about an object as complicated and diverse as the EU? Moreover, what is the cut-off point exactly? In other words, at what point does an individual or population qualify as EU sceptic or supportive? And finally, is there consistency among all EU sceptics or among all supporters? Existing approaches assume EU support or scepticism to largely be a response to characteristics or changes in the European integration process. Both the utilitarian and identity approaches stress that people evaluate the EU through the economic or cultural opportunities or challenges it provides. 1

For more information on multilevel governance see Hooghe and Marks (2001).

35

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Those that identify with Europe and/or benefit from the Single Market support integration. Yet, given the multilevel nature of politics in Europe today, it seems unrealistic to explore EU support and scepticism without a reference to people’s evaluations of national conditions. Surely, EU support or scepticism do not develop in a vacuum, isolated from people’s assessments of developments at the national level. In the ensuing sections, I present a benchmark theory based on two arguments about the nature of public opinion towards the EU: (a) support and scepticism are essentially relational concepts, intrinsically linked to people’s evaluations of politics at the national level, and (b) support and scepticism are multidimensional concepts that relate to people’s evaluations of both the outcomes and procedures that characterize political systems at the European and national level.

2.2 A Benchmark Theory of Support and Scepticism The benchmark theory of support and scepticism suggests that people weigh up their evaluations of the perceived benefits from the status quo, labelled as SQ , against those associated with an alternative state, labelled as AS. This comparison is what I coin the EU differential. The EU differential follows the notion of reference point dependent preferences that was popularized in economics and psychology through the seminal work on prospect theory by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (1979; see also Tversky and Kahneman 1992). Prospect theory is a behavioural economic theory that describes the way people choose between alternatives that involve risk. The theory states that people make decisions based on the potential value of losses and gains rather than the final outcome. These losses or gains are dependent on a reference point, a benchmark. When deciding to opt for a change from, or to remain with, the status quo, people weigh up the benefits they derive from the status quo, the existing situation, to an alternative state, the expected changed situation. People consider lesser outcomes than the reference point as losses and perceive greater ones as gains. Note that the alternative state ultimately involves a comparison. What would the benefits be if the status quo changed? Change involves uncertainty. Research suggests that due to imperfect information about what the future may bring, people will most likely favour existing benefits that are known to them over uncertain future ones (for a discussion see Hirshleifer and Riley 1992). All else being equal, people will thus prefer the status quo. When the benefits of status quo seem to be less compared to those associated with the alternative state, people find themselves in a frame of losses, and will prefer changing the status quo even when the expected benefits are uncertain. When people perceive the benefits associated with the status quo to be greater than those of the alternative state, 36

In or Out?

people find themselves in a frame of gains, and will resist any change to the status quo. Translating these insights to public opinion towards the EU, the object of study here, people are expected to compare the perceived benefits from EU membership, the status quo, to the benefits they would expect to receive from an alternative state, namely their country being outside the EU. The extent to which people are willing to challenge their country’s membership by supporting secession in a membership referendum for example, crucially depends on how they weigh up the perceived benefits associated with the current status quo of membership against the alternative state, their country being outside. A change from the status quo comes with considerable uncertainty. The benefits associated with the changed situation of one’s country being outside the EU are largely unknown so people will rely on benchmarks to compensate for these informational shortfalls. Such benchmarks include current national economic performance and quality of government, for example. This argument differs from Christopher Anderson’s (1998) notion of national proxies. Anderson argues that people will substitute their EU evaluations with evaluations concerning the national level, because people simply lack the relevant knowledge about the EU to form opinions. What I suggest here is that people use national evaluations as benchmarks to form expectations about how well their country would fare if it should leave the EU.2 Secession involves risk. People are expected only to be willing to take this risk when they perceive the benefits of the alternative state to be greater than the status quo, even if only slightly so. The extent to which people support the status quo of membership or not therefore crucially depends on their beliefs about how well their country would do outside the European bloc and the information they use to form these beliefs. This might seem a bit abstract, so let me try to make it somewhat more concrete. Every individual (or group of individuals) derives some benefits from their country through the provision of public goods and services, such as roads, public television, national defence, etc. Yet, some public goods and services require international cooperation to be delivered efficiently due to scale advantages, for example trade or environmental protection (see, e.g. Alesina et al. 1995; Hooghe and Marks 2001). Being part of the EU institutional architecture may thus deliver unique goods and services for individuals that the national systems in which they reside cannot. Yet, these benefits may also be perceived to come at a cost, such as having to accept the judicial and 2 While people could in principle also benchmark the alternative state by judging how well countries like Norway or Switzerland—which have never joined the EU—fare, the transaction costs associated with leaving are fundamentally different from not joining. Brexit might thus be a more important source of information that helps people form beliefs about the alternative state. I discuss this further in Chapter 8 (see also De Vries 2017a).

37

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

EU differential: Gain AS

SQ

negative

positive

Figure 2.1. Defining EU support

policy influence of the European Court of Justice or the European Central Bank, for example. When deciding to remain or leave, people compare the current status quo of membership to the potential losses or gains based on an alternative state, namely their country being outside the EU. This EU differential can be formalized in the following way: EU Differential: EvaluationsSQ  EvaluationsAS

ð1Þ

When evaluations of SQ (EvaluationsSQ ) exceed those of the alternative state (EvaluationsAS ) and the EU differential is positive, people are considered to be in a gain frame and are expected to support the status quo of EU membership. The EU is perceived to represent an added value to the policy making and public good provision their nation state provides. Figure 2.1 provides a graphical presentation of EU support based on the benchmark theory. Imagine for now that we can rank people’s evaluations about the benefits of their country’s EU membership, SQ, and their country being outside the EU, AS, on one dimension from negative to positive. People are expected to be in a gain frame when the perceived benefits of the SQ exceed those of the AS. Prospect theory tells us that those who are in a frame of gains are risk-averse, and want to hold on to the advantages they have. They will support the SQ. Also, due to the fact that people prefer existing benefits over expected ones, we expect that when the perceived benefits of the SQ and AS are equal, that is to say the EU differential is zero, people will support the SQ. Support for the EU can thus be defined as: EU Support: EvaluationsSQ  EvaluationsAS

ð2Þ

Conversely, when the EU differential is negative and people’s evaluations of the AS exceed the ones of the SQ, people find themselves in a frame of losses. Figure 2.2 provides a graphical presentation of EU scepticism based on a benchmark approach. People will be in a frame of losses and more risk-seeking. They prefer a change over the current status quo even when the outcome is uncertain. They are sceptics of the status quo. Scepticism of the EU can thus be defined as: EU Scepticism: EvaluationsSQ < EvaluationsAS 38

ð3Þ

In or Out?

EU differential: Loss SQ

AS positive

negative

Figure 2.2. Defining EU scepticism

It is important to note that the benchmark theory suggests that an increase in EU support or scepticism may thus not only be the result of an increase or decrease in EU evaluations. It can be due to a change in how people perceive the alternative state, namely their country being outside the EU. This insight is important and can go a long way towards explaining the recent different responses to the Eurozone and refugee crises across the continent. A couple of examples might illustrate this. Although the idea of an ever-closer Union that benefits all has come under increasing attack, this is likely due to very different reasons in Europe’s different regions. In Southern European countries, for example, the EU is blamed for imposing punitive austerity measures that have left millions out of work. Yet, even though people’s EU evaluations might have worsened, their evaluations of the alternative state seem to have decreased even more, partly due to large-scale corruption scandals involving national politicians that were uncovered in the crisis. Take Spain for example. Since the outbreak of the crisis, Spanish politics has been shattered by revelations of large-scale corruption scandals involving the ruling party (Solaz et al. 2017). This is an important reason for Spanish support for EU membership remaining high, even though austerity measures, dictated at least in part by Brussels, were severe. It might also be why anti-establishment parties such as Podemos have abandoned some of their Eurosceptic rhetoric.3 Podemos is a new party that emerged on the Spanish political scene in 2011 and made large electoral gains by vocalizing anti-austerity and anti-corruption sentiment (Errejon et al. 2016). In member states in the North West, such as Germany or the Netherlands for example, the EU is blamed for being too lax towards highly indebted member states. Moreover, the utility of the free movement of people is questioned against the backdrop of a noticeable influx of cheap labour from the East and refugee flows via the Mediterranean. At the same time, the news of economic and political mismanagement in the South may have improved evaluations of their national system and policies. Even though these countries have benefited tremendously from the Euro and recovered quickly from the

3 For a journalistic discussion of the EU positions of Podemos and its leader Pablo Iglesias, see El Dario, ‘Pablo Iglesias reitera el compromiso de Unidos Podemos con la UE pero pide “cambiar Europa” ’, 24 June 2016.

39

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Eurozone crisis, support for Eurosceptic parties has increased considerably. Eurosceptic parties in these countries stress the quality of national conditions vis-à-vis the EU as a whole, and question the benefits of membership (Otjes and Katsanidou 2017). Finally, in Central Eastern European countries, such as Hungary or Poland for example, the EU is blamed for interfering with domestic rules about migrant, minority, and/or refugee rights (Szczerbiak 2012; Ágh 2016). Yet, as I will show, people’s evaluations of the EU political system still clearly outrank their evaluations of national conditions, and thus support for membership remains high. These examples illustrate how EU support and scepticism are shaped by a comparison between of people’s evaluations of the status quo of EU membership and the alternative state, their country being outside the EU. Now that I have conceptualized EU support and scepticism as relational concepts based on a comparison of evaluations of benefits of EU membership versus one’s country being outside, the question is which benefits people consider. So far, I have treated these benefits in a one-dimensional fashion. This may not be realistic. Traditional approaches have conceived benefits as largely economic (for example Eichenberg and Dalton 1993; Gabel 1998). Focusing only on economic benefits could be problematic. Identity based approaches have suggested that the EU not only constitutes an economic project, but has also far-reaching political consequences that define citizenship, right of residence, and immigrant rights (Hooghe and Marks 2005; McLaren 2005). As a result, people consider non-economic benefits as well. Moreover, people may consider a range of different benefits as the European integration process involves many aspects. European integration remains one of the most complex political issues that European mass publics face. It involves a political system with which they lack much direct experience, a political process that is open-ended and constantly in flux, and political deliberations that often focus on highly technical questions that citizens may find difficult to grasp, especially because debates take place in the absence of a truly supranational public sphere (Koopmans 2007). Indeed, recent studies have shown that citizens are deeply conflicted about different aspects of the European integration process (De Vries 2013; De Vries and Steenbergen 2013; Stoeckel 2013). For example, people may like the idea in the abstract, but not display much appreciation of the actual policies that the EU decides on. Or they may like certain policies, while objecting to others. Or they may like the policies the EU pursues, but object to the political process that yields them. Ambivalent attitudes do not imply that people’s opinions are erratic or resemble something that Philip Converse (1964) once coined ‘non-attitudes’. Rather it suggests that an individual may simultaneously like and dislike an object, in this case the EU (Cacioppo et al. 1997). The literature on attitude 40

In or Out?

ambivalence suggests that a complete attitude is not defined as a single point, but rather as a pair of points that characterize the intensity of liking and disliking, respectively. Stanley Feldman and John Zaller (1992) for example have conceptualized attitudes as distributions of considerations (see also Feldman 1995). To the extent that considerations vary in their evaluative implications, this automatically introduces variability into the attitude concept. In the extreme case, the attitude may be characterized by considerations with opposing evaluative implications, in which instance the attitude is said to be characterized by ambivalence. In a similar vein, Michael Alvarez and John Brehm (2002) argue that citizens possess multiple predispositions, which may either be conflicting (ambivalence) or reconciled (unified). In the case of ambivalence, variability in attitudes should be greater, whereas it should be smaller in the case of unified attitudes. Which dimensions do EU support and scepticism consist of? In an article aimed at explaining voting behaviour in the 2005 Dutch Constitutional Treaty referendum, Marcel Lubbers (2008) shows that the EU attitudes of Dutch citizens at the time of the referendum consisted of more than one dimension. Based on explanations of EU support, he theorizes that public opinion should contain utilitarian, identity, and political dimensions. However, this expectation is not borne out by the data. Using factor analysis, he finds two dimensions, a general Eurosceptic one relating to perceived cultural threats, distrust, wasting of money or other benefits, and a second dimension relating to preferences over European citizenship and a European federal state. Similarly, in their comparative study of voting behaviour in the Dutch and French Constitutional Treaty referendums from 2005, Sara Hobolt and Sylvain Bouard (2011) distinguish between several dimensions of EU support. Using factor analysis and a multitude of survey items relating to some aspect of the EU or Constitutional Treaty, the authors find that while public opinion in France and the Netherlands at the time of the referendum display four dimensions, the content of these dimensions differs somewhat between the two countries. In both France and the Netherlands public opinion entailed a cultural threat and enlargement dimension; in France it also contained a social threat and Constitutional Treaty specific dimension, while in the Netherlands there was evidence for a post-materialism and Euro dimension. A study on public opinion about the EU by Hajo Boomgaarden and colleagues (2011) builds on this work by delving deeper into the multidimensionality of EU support. The authors differentiate between dimensions of performance, identity, affection, utilitarianism, and strengthening. These dimensions, as in the previous studies mentioned (Lubbers 2008; Hobolt and Bouard 2011), were derived from factor analysis using a large set of variables. The performance dimension relates to people’s evaluations of the democratic and financial functioning and the performance of European institutions, 41

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

while the identity dimension is based on people’s identification with the EU and items tapping into pride in being an EU citizen, feeling close to other Europeans and their culture and history, as well as adherence to EU symbols such as the flag. The affective dimension reflects an emotional response to the ideals embodied in the integration process, whereas the utilitarian dimension refers to support based on the specific costs and benefits associated with membership in the EU. Finally, the strengthening dimension relates to ‘the future of European integration and to a process of further deepening and widening of the EU, . . . support for policy transfer and extended decision making competencies, the integration of more member states (widening) and integration into one country (deepening)’ (Boomgaarden et al. 2011: 250). Although these contributions have broadened our understanding of public support for European integration by highlighting that a one-dimensional approach is insufficient, the authors provide little guidance about why the different dimensions found in the data matter. Which dimensions are crucial for understanding the nature of public opinion? How important are each of these dimensions for securing popular legitimacy of the European project? What consequences do the different aspects of support and scepticism have for people’s behaviour in elections? Only if the different dimensions of support or scepticism lead to specific types of behaviour in elections and referendums about Europe and thus have different consequences for the integration process, does it seem worthwhile to distinguish between them. What is more, although knowledge of European affairs has grown over the years, studies show that on average people do not have a large store of knowledge about the EU (Karp et al. 2003; De Vries et al. 2011). Hence, it may not be entirely realistic to suggest that people are cognitively able to distinguish between all the different aspects of the European integration process that have been outlined. Although these studies have opened up an important debate about dimensionality, the exact nature of the multi-dimensionality of support and scepticism is far from clear. In Section 2.3, I suggest that a two-dimensional approach, stressing evaluations of policies and how the regime operates, is most useful.

2.3 The Importance of Regime and Policy Evaluations A useful starting point for addressing the multidimensionality of EU support and scepticism is the seminal work by David Easton (1965, 1975). David Easton pioneered the study of public support for systems of government, which ‘refers to the way in which a person evaluatively orients himself to some [political] objects through either his attitudes or his behaviour’ 42

In or Out?

(Easton 1975: 436). He distinguishes between two different modes of political support: specific and diffuse. While diffuse support refers to the evaluation of the regime, broadly defined as the system of government and the constitutional arrangements underlying it, specific support relates more to policy, that is to say to the binding collective decisions and actions taken by political actors operating in the broader system of government (see Norris 1999). Specific support serves very much like a mental tally that fluctuates according to the political regime’s performance, while diffuse support is more affective in nature. It is based on a loyalty to the essential principles and institutions themselves (Citrin et al. 1975). Although many authors, past and present, have applied David Easton’s distinction to the EU context (for an overview see Hobolt and De Vries 2016a), I suggest that some caution may be in order, especially where diffuse support is concerned. First, while in established democracies the existence of some degree of diffuse support is often taken for granted, in the context of the EU it is inherently fragile. The EU like many international organizations is characterized by an inherent ambiguity (Best 2012). Its regime principles and institutions are a work-in-progress and have evolved extensively over time. The EU is a hybrid multilevel political system, far more integrated than an international organization, yet it is not a nation state. The EU’s external boundaries are continuously being redrawn, there is uncertainty about the scope of its competences, the underlying demos is fuzzy, and its aims are contested by politicians and publics in many member states. This lack of elite and public consensus about the nature of the EU polity presents an existential challenge to the European project (Mair 2007; De Wilde and Trenz 2012), which arguably hinders the stable development of diffuse support. Second, diffuse support according to David Easton (1965: 125) should be thought of as a reservoir of attitudes that exists ‘independently of the specific rewards which the member may feel he obtains from belonging to the system’. It refers to an affective loyalty to the system. Sara Hobolt (2012) points out that this poses a challenge to the EU as most people feel less emotionally attached to the EU compared to their nation state (see also Harteveld et al. 2013). The affective loyalty to the EU is less strong compared to the one established at the national level. Indeed, feelings of European identity are weak, at least among most people who are not transnationally mobile (Fligstein 2008; Kuhn 2015). Research suggests that stronger national identities and weaker European ones lead people to be less supportive of the EU (see for example Carey 2002; Hooghe and Marks 2005; Kuhn 2015). This lack of attachment is exacerbated by the fact that in the EU context, unlike in most other national systems, citizens always have a credible alternative system, their nation state, to which they can easily relate, and to which they will 43

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

compare.4 Contrary to these national systems of government which may not be perfect, but have become generally accepted over a long period of time, the supranational character of the EU does not fit easily with institutions and traditions found in member states. The development of diffuse EU support may not be a realistic expectation in the European context, at least for current generations. In the absence of diffuse support, we can expect support and opposition towards the EU to be transactional in nature. Which elements do people consider when they form opinions about the status quo of membership and the alternative state? I suggest that the distinction between substantive and procedural elements of representative democratic systems as defined by Robert Dahl (1998) provides a more fruitful way to think about this question. Substantively, Dahl argues, representatives need to ensure that citizens get the public goods and services they prefer at least some of the time as people would not support a system that never delivered. Yet, majority rule makes it unlikely that an individual will receive the goods and services they prefer all the time. As a result, a democratic system must also rely on its procedural aspect, namely it needs to secure ‘that each person should receive an . . . equal chance to gain the scarce item’ (Dahl 1998: 108). If individuals fail to obtain what they value most, the belief that institutions provide a fair articulation of one’s interests should secure popular support, and ensure losers’ consent (Anderson and Guillory 1997). I build on Dahl’s distinction by distinguishing between people’s regime and policy evaluations. Regime evaluations relate to people’s assessments of the way in which the rules and procedures, as laid down in the various Treaties or the constitution, operate in practice. Policy evaluations refer to people’s judgements of the content of collective decisions and actions taken by national versus EU actors or at the national or EU level. Policy evaluations refer to people’s perceptions of the degree to which a system delivers the policies and public goods they prefer, and reflect evaluations of the policies and outcomes of the day. Regime evaluations relate less to the policy making and public goods provided by the system today, but more to the process that yields them in the future. What counts in the case of regime evaluations is the belief that institutions provide a fair articulation of one’s interests, even if it fails to deliver the goods and services one prefers today (Dahl 1998; see also Rohrschneider 2002). As long as regime evaluations are positive, people who are currently dissatisfied with policies may still have faith in better ones in the future. While regime evaluations tap into people’s support for or scepticism

4 Exceptions here may be states with strong regional independence movements, like Spain or the United Kingdom, for example. Yet, in these instances the alternative political system, an independent Catalunya or Scotland, remain hypothetical rather than existing options. This surely increases uncertainty and raises questions about the viability of these alternative states.

44

In or Out?

about the procedural aspect of policy making and public good provision, policy evaluations refer to support for or scepticism about the substantive aspect as outlined by Dahl. Note that these ideas are closely related to the distinction between input- and output-oriented legitimacy in the EU as developed by Fritz Scharpf (1999). Output legitimacy refers to the problem-solving capacity of the system and the extent to which it delivers, while input legitimacy highlights the importance of support for the system’s procedures. Within the EU context, it may of course prove difficult to clearly delineate between regime and policy evaluations as EU policies often involve a transfer of sovereignty from the national to the European level. European unification has created a complex and multilevel division of power between various European institutions and between EU institutions and national governments, which also deeply affect national policies and practices (Hooghe and Marks 2001). European integration attitudes are thus characterized by a fundamental problem of attribution of responsibility (Hobolt and Tilley 2014). Therefore regime and policy evaluations should be analysed and interpreted in their multilevel context, rather than treated as isolated phenomena. They are best understood in terms of benchmarks, or put differently, as a comparison between the policy and regime benefits of EU membership and those associated with the alternative state, one’s country being outside.

2.4 Measuring People’s Regime and Policy Evaluations In order to empirically examine how people compare the policy and regime benefits of EU membership to those associated with the alternative state, we need to develop measures of policy and regime evaluations about the EU and the alternative state. Capturing the former through survey questions is arguably easier than the latter. The alternative state, one’s country being outside the EU, relies on a counterfactual and is therefore largely unknown. As highlighted earlier, an important way through which people can infer the possible benefits of the alternative state is by extrapolating their evaluations of how well their nation state is doing today. In order to capture the difference between people’s national and European evaluations of regimes and policies, requires a data source that provides the same question wording for both the national and European levels. Also, the data source should allow for comparisons cross-nationally and over time in order to examine if benchmarks do indeed vary across space and time as hypothesized. Fortunately, several rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS) include this type of information. The ESS is one of the most methodologically rigorous cross-national survey projects. It was initiated in 2002 and consists of seven rounds to date. One of its particular aims is to reduce the heterogeneity in survey practices across 45

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

countries. This harmonization of standards is important as it allows researchers to reduce the likelihood that different results between countries are caused by alterations in how the survey is conducted within each country. It thereby reduces uncertainty about the extent to which differences between countries reflect actual substantive differences. In order to harmonize survey practices, the ESS developed strict guidelines for consistent methods of fieldwork, including contacting and coding, and the implementation of random sampling.5 At the time of writing, the data for seven rounds have been released (for a discussion of the ESS and cross-national data sources more generally, see De Vries 2017c). Here I rely on data from five rounds (Rounds 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7) conducted for twenty countries that featured at least three times in the rounds in order to make temporal comparisons: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Not all ESS rounds could be included, because the first and fifth round unfortunately did not contain all the relevant information needed to construct the EU regime and policy differentials. Recall that regime evaluations refer to people’s assessments of the way in which formal political rules and procedures operate in practice, while policy evaluations tap into people’s judgements of the collective decisions and actions taken by political actors. To capture people’s regime and policy evaluations, my analysis relies on the following questions: - Regime Evaluations: • Please tell me on a score of 0–10 how much you personally trust each of the institutions. When I read out 0 it means you do not trust an institution at all, and 10 means you have complete trust. 1. European Parliament. 2. Country’s Parliament. ➢ The EU regime differential subtracts the trust score for the European Parliament from the trust score for the national parliament. The EU regime differential can vary from –10 indicating full trust of the national parliament and distrust in the European Parliament to +10 signifying full trust of the European Parliament and distrust of the national parliament, but in most countries effectively ranges from –7 to 7.

5 The guidelines call for a random sampling design of residents of 15 years and older (no quota sampling), one hour face-to-face interviews, a target response rate of 70 per cent and a minimum of 2,000 respondents per country, for example. Although each national team conducts its own fieldwork and operations, a central committee still exerts strong control over each step of the survey process.

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- Policy Evaluations: • European: Now thinking about the European Union, some say European unification should go further. Others say it has already gone too far. What number on the scale best describes your position? 1) 0—Unification has gone too far. 2) 10—Unification should go further. • National: Now thinking about the [country] government, how satisfied are you with the way it is doing its job? 1) 0—Extremely dissatisfied. 2) 10—Extremely satisfied. ➢ The EU policy differential measure subtracts the satisfaction score of European integration policy from the satisfaction score of national government policy. The EU policy differential can vary from –10 indicating full national satisfaction and European dissatisfaction to +10 signifying full European satisfaction and national dissatisfaction, but in most countries effectively ranges from –6 to 6. The items are useful as they allow us to examine EU and national evaluations using the same questions and scales across time and space, yet the ESS questionnaire also has some limitations. We cannot rule out that people use the scale differently (differential item functioning), so we should be overall cautious about our interpretations. Moreover, the item tapping into people’s EU policy evaluations is not ideal. This is why I have cross-validated the country classifications based on the ESS with those based on a eupinions survey that Isabell Hoffmann and I developed on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2016 as well as with the European Election Survey (EES) from 2014. The eupinions survey was fielded in August 2016, and I was able to design parts of the questionnaire and could thus field questions that are specifically aimed at capturing people’s regime and policy evaluations. To tap into these evaluations, I rely on the following questions: • Regime evaluations: • European: How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in the European Union? Please select one answer. 1. Very dissatisfied, 2. Somewhat dissatisfied, 3. Somewhat satisfied, 4. Very satisfied. • National: How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in your country? Please select one answer. 1. Very dissatisfied, 2. Somewhat dissatisfied, 3. Somewhat satisfied, 4. Very satisfied. 47

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

➢ The EU regime differential measure subtracts the satisfaction score for the EU from the satisfaction score for a respondent’s country. The EU regime differential varies from –4 indicating complete satisfaction with national democracy and complete dissatisfaction with EU democracy to +4 signifying complete satisfaction with EU democracy and complete dissatisfaction with national democracy. • Policy evaluations: • European: Would you say that policy is currently moving in the right direction in the European Union? Please select one answer. 1. No, policy is moving in the wrong direction, 2. Yes, policy is moving in the right direction • National: Would you say that policy is currently moving in the right direction in your country? Please select one answer. 1. No, in the wrong direction, 2. Yes, in the right direction. ➢ The EU policy differential measure subtracts the evaluation of the policy direction in the EU from the evaluation of the policy direction in a respondent’s country. The EU policy differential varies from –2 indicating satisfaction with the national policy direction and dissatisfaction with the EU policy direction to +2 signifying satisfaction with the EU policy direction and dissatisfaction with the national policy direction. The EES was conducted in the wake of the European Parliamentary election in May 2014. This survey also consists of a battery of questions about the national and EU level that can be used to construct people’s EU regime and policy differentials. Specifically, I relied on the following questions from the survey: • Regime evaluations: • European: For each of these following statements, can you please tell me if you agree or disagree. You trust the institutions of the European Union. 1. No, not at all, 2. No, not really, 3. Yes, to some extent, 4. Yes, definitely. • National: You trust the national parliament. 1. No, not at all, 2. No, not really, 3. Yes, to some extent, 4. Yes, definitely. ➢ The EU regime differential subtracts the trust score for EU institutions from the trust score for the national parliament. The EU regime differential varies from –4 indicating full trust of the national parliament and 48

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• •





distrust in EU institutions to +4 signifying full trust in EU institutions and distrust of the national parliament. Policy evaluations: European: Would you say that things are currently moving in the right direction in the European Union? Please select one answer. 1. No, in the wrong direction, 2. Yes, in the right direction. National: Would you say that things are currently moving in the right direction in your country? Please select one answer. 1. No, in the wrong direction, 2. Yes, in the right direction. The EU policy differential measure subtracts the evaluation of the policy direction in the EU from the evaluation of the policy direction in a respondent’s country. The EU policy differential varies from –2 indicating satisfaction with the national policy direction and dissatisfaction with the EU policy direction to +2 signifying satisfaction with the EU policy direction and dissatisfaction with the national policy direction.

Table 2.1 shows the correlation coefficients (Pearson’s R) between the average EU policy and regime differential scores per country based on the ESS from 2014 (EES 2014) and the eupinions survey from 2016. The results show that the three different measures of the EU regime and policy differential are highly correlated. The correlation is stronger in the case of the regime differential. Given that there was a slight time lag between the surveys, the question wordings were different and policy evaluations are likely to vary more across time, this is not entirely surprising. The cross-validation of the ESS 2014 data with questions that were specifically designed to tap EU regime and policy differential at one point in time in the 2016 eupinions survey suggest that the ESS measures seem to tap into people’s regime and policy benchmarks. Table 2.1. Cross-validation of EU differential measures EU regime differential European Election Survey European Election Survey European Social Survey eupinions survey

eupinions survey

EU policy differential European Election Survey

eupinions survey









0.892**

0.796**

0.427*

0.487*

0.824**



0.765**



Notes: Table entries are Pearson’s R correlation coefficients. ** significant at a p  0.01, * p  0.05 level. Sources: European Election Study 2014; European Social Survey 2014; eupinions August 2016.

49

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 1.5

EU differential

1

0.5

0

–0.5 2004

2006

2008 Regime

2012

2014

Policy

Figure 2.3. EU Regime and policy differential across time Note: The figure entries represent the EU regime and policy differentials averaged across a survey year and countries. For a list of countries see Figure 2.4. Sources: European Social Survey 2004–2014.

After having established the validity of ESS measures, the dynamics of people’s EU regime and policy differentials across time and space were examined. Figure 2.3 provides an overview of the EU regime and policy differentials across different rounds of the ESS (2004–2014) aggregated across the countries included in these surveys. For more information on which countries were included see Figure 2.4. The figure shows that while the EU policy differential is always positive, the EU regime differential is not. It is positive for 2006, 2008, and 2012, but slightly negative for 2004 and 2014. These aggregate patterns are interesting, but most likely mask extensive crossnational variation. It is likely that in some countries EU differentials are negative, while in others they are positive. As a result, by taking an average, these differences in EU differentials cancel out. Figure 2.4 shows that the EU differentials indeed vary extensively across countries. They vary between –2 and +4. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, or Poland for example, have consistently positive regime and policy differentials, while others—such as Sweden and the UK—have almost always consistently negative regime and policy differentials. Others like Denmark and the Netherlands have mixed differentials. Can we find some patterns in these differences across countries? Figures 2.5 and 2.6 provide the EU regime and policy differential for two sets of countries, those with high and low unemployment, that is to say with unemployment above or below the EU mean, and those with high and low quality of government, also based on the EU mean. Country classifications are based on 50

In or Out? Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Great Britain

Hungary

Ireland

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

2013 2010 2007 2004

2013 2010 2007 2004

2013 2010 2007 2004

2013 2010 2007 2004 –2

0

2

4

–2

0

2

4

–2

0

EU policy differential

2

4

–2

0

2

4

–2

0

2

4

EU regime differential

Figure 2.4. EU regime and policy differential across time and space Note: The figure entries represent the EU regime and policy differentials averaged across a survey year per individual country. Sources: European Social Survey 2004–2014.

unemployment data from Eurostat (2017) and political data from Quality of Governance Institute of the University of Gothenburg (2016). I define countries as having high unemployment or having a high quality of government when they rank above the average unemployment or quality of government over the 2004–2014 time period in the EU, and as having low unemployment or low quality of government if they rank below. In line with the benchmark theory, I would expect that EU differentials are higher in countries with high unemployment and low quality of government. In these latter countries, the counterfactual of one’s own county being outside the EU should be worse compared to the current status quo. The reverse should hold for low unemployment and high quality of government countries. Interestingly, however, only the EU regime 51

High unemployment

Low unemployment

EU differential

2

1

0

–1

2004

2006

2008

2012

2014

2004

2006

2008

2012

2014

Policy

Regime

Figure 2.5. EU regime and policy differential by unemployment Notes: The figure entries represent the EU regime and policy differentials averaged across countries with above or below EU-average unemployment per survey year. The differences between contexts are statistically significant at a p ≤ 0.05 level. Sources: European Social Survey 2004–2014.

Low quality

High quality

EU differential

2

1

0

–1

2004

2006

2008

2012

2014 Regime

2004

2006

2008

2012

2014

Policy

Figure 2.6. EU regime and policy differential by quality of government Notes: The figure entries represent the EU regime and policy differentials averaged across countries with above or below EU-average quality of government per survey year. The differences between contexts are statistically significant at a p ≤ .05 level. Sources: European Social Survey 2004–2014.

In or Out?

differentials are clearly negative in low unemployment and high quality of government countries, whilst they are positive in high unemployment and low quality of government countries. The policy differentials in low unemployment and high quality of government countries are lower compared to those in high unemployment and low quality of government counties, but still mildly positive. This perhaps reflects the fact that people in low unemployment and high quality of government countries do recognize scale advantages of EU governance, but at the same time view the EU regime as democratically deficient in comparison with the national level. I will discuss the importance of national conditions for understanding support and scepticism in greater depth in Chapter 4. Next to the average levels of EU regime and policy differentials, we can explore changes over time. Figure 2.7 shows the change in EU differential between 2004 and 2014, the first and last round of the EES that includes all relevant measures. Figure 2.7 includes those countries that featured in the surveys at both points in time.6 While in five out of fourteen Belgium Germany Denmark Estonia Spain Finland France Great Britain Hungary Ireland Netherlands Portugal Sweden Slovenia –2

–1

0 1 Change EU differential 2004–2014

Policy differential

2

Regime differential

Figure 2.7. Changes in EU regime and policy differentials between 2004 and 2014 across space Note: The figure entries represent the difference in the average EU regime and policy differentials between the 2004 and 2014 ESS round for individual countries. Sources: European Social Survey 2004 and 2014.

6 This excludes Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia for which we do not have data for both 2004 and 2014.

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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Belgium Germany Denmark Estonia Spain Finland France Great Britain Hungary Ireland Netherlands Portugal Sweden Slovenia –1

0 1 Change regime evaluations 2004–2014 Difference regime EU

2

Difference regime national

Figure 2.8. Changes in national and European regime evaluations between 2004 and 2014 across space Note: The figure entries represent the difference in the average EU regime evaluations as well as national regime evaluations between the 2004 and 2014 ESS round for individual countries. Sources: European Social Survey 2004 and 2014.

countries both EU regime and policy differentials increased over time, in the vast majority of countries—nine—at least one of the differentials decreased. In Figures 2.8 and 2.9, I examine if these changes stem primarily from changes in national or European evaluations. Figure 2.8 displays the change in regime evaluations, while Figure 2.9 focuses on policy evaluations. Overall, the changes in regime and policy evaluations have been substantial. Moreover, we see more deterioration than improvement in support for regime and policies at both levels of government. This should not be entirely surprising given that the continent faced some of the biggest challenges in its post-war history, namely the Eurozone and refugee crises. Interestingly, we see that national and European evaluations do not necessarily track each other. In virtually all countries, the magnitude clearly differs. In some countries, like Belgium and Estonia, changes for both differentials are even in opposite directions. Finally, what is especially interesting to see is that the biggest changes are found for national evaluations in countries like Ireland, Spain, and Slovenia. This suggests that increases in EU scepticism of late might largely be due to changes in national evaluations. 54

In or Out? Belgium Germany Denmark Estonia Spain Finland France Great Britain Hungary Ireland Netherlands Portugal Sweden Slovenia –2

–1

0 1 Change policy evaluations 2004–2014

Difference policy EU

2

Difference policy national

Figure 2.9. Changes in national and European policy evaluations between 2004 and 2014 across space Note: The figure entries represent the difference in the average EU policy evaluations as well as national policy evaluations between the 2004 and 2014 ESS round for individual countries. Sources: European Social Survey 2004 and 2014.

2.5 Summary This chapter has defined EU support and scepticism as the result of a comparison between two sets of evaluations, people’s evaluations of the perceived benefits of their country’s EU membership and the perceived benefits associated with their country being outside the EU. I coined this comparison the EU differential. If the differential is positive, people are classified as EU supporters, while if the EU differential is negative, people are classified as EU sceptics. The benefits that people consider come in two forms, those relating to policies or to the regime. While policy benefits relate to the way the system delivers now or has done so in the past, regime benefits hinge on a belief that the system will deliver in the future. Finally, support and scepticism vary across time and space. EU differentials are higher in countries with high unemployment and low quality of government. Here the EU constitutes something of a lifeboat, as people are quite sceptical about the extent to which their nation state can deliver public goods and services now and in the future. EU differentials are more likely to be negative in countries with low unemployment and high quality of government. Temporal changes in regime and policy evaluations are considerable, but not uniform. In some countries they have improved, while in others they have deteriorated. 55

3 Kicking Up a Fuss? From Permissive to Responsive Support and Scepticism

We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back. Jean-Claude Juncker, 27 December 1999, Luxembourg

The quote of the previous prime minister of Luxembourg and current president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, illustrates the idea that the opaque nature of European decision making shielded European and national elites against the opinions of the public for a long time. As I have argued in Chapter 2, EU politics today is no longer divorced from public opinion. A largely permissive public has given way to a more responsive public. Ordinary EU citizens should thus be more likely, in the words of Commission President Juncker, to ‘kick up a fuss’ when it comes to developments at the European level. This chapter aims to examine the extent to which this is indeed the case. The notion of benchmarking introduced in Chapter 2 suggests that people compare the perceived benefits of the status quo, their country’s EU membership, to the perceived benefits associated with the alternative state, their country being outside the EU. The comparison of these benefits is called the EU differential. This differential is key for understanding whether people are supportive or sceptical of the EU. If the EU differential is positive, that is to say when the perceived benefits of membership exceed those associated with their country being outside the EU, people can be classified as EU supporters. When the EU differential is negative— when the perceived benefits associated with their country being outside are perceived to outweigh those of membership—people are classified as EU sceptics.

Kicking Up a Fuss?

Although Chapter 2 has demonstrated that people on average hold quite positive EU differentials, it also showed that the EU differentials varied substantially across time, and that these temporal changes have not been uniform. In some countries EU differentials declined, while they improved in other countries. The evaluations of the benefits associated with the status quo of membership and the alternative state are not constants. However, do they track changes in real-world conditions? If they do, it would provide EU and national government officials with a valuable source of information. When public opinion is responsive, government officials become more easily aware of policy failings and can react by adjusting the direction of policy to be more in line with the interests of the citizens they represent. When policies fail to satisfy public demands, elites may not be immediately aware of such failures and will need to, at least in part, rely on public dissatisfaction to be responsive (see for example Wlezien 1995; Erikson et al. 2002; Soroka and Wlezien 2010). This may especially be true for the EU as it is characterized by a weaker electoral connection and a higher level of technocratic governance compared to member states (Føllesdal and Hix 2006; Hobolt and Tilley 2014). When political elites are more responsive, public support for European policy making and its institutions can be expected to increase as a result (for a more general argument see Soroka and Wlezien 2010). Examining public responsiveness is difficult and plagued by issues of causality. In line with a growing number of studies within political science, I rely on events as a way to capture public responses to political matters (see for example Healy et al. 2010; Bechtel and Hainmueller 2011). Exogenous events that cannot be anticipated allow us to uncover the degree to which the public responds to the world around them. In line with the notion that EU support and scepticism are based on a comparison between policies and the regime at the European and national level, people’s EU differentials should increase as a result of events that reflect positively on the European level, and decrease based on negative ones. Moreover, people’s EU differentials should increase in a reaction to events that reveal negative aspects of the national system of government, and vice versa. Let me give concrete examples to illustrate how responsive EU differentials should work. Consider Germany for example. Support for European integration has traditionally been high. The German economy is export-oriented and thus benefits tremendously from the Single Market. Moreover, the Euro may have aided Germany’s trade balance even further in that German exporters have benefited from a weaker valued currency compared to a situation where they would still have to rely on the Deutschmark (Stiglitz 2016). That said, the economic and political ramifications of the Greek sovereign debt crisis and the refugee crisis have made some German citizens anxious (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). A possible deterioration of the benefits of EU membership have 57

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

become quite clear in recent discussions over intra-EU transfers, refugee quotas, and an increasing contribution to the EU budget after Brexit. At the same time, reports about political and economic mismanagement in the South may have boosted people’s national evaluations vis-à-vis their European ones. As a result, EU policy and regime evaluations might have deteriorated, while national evaluations have increased slightly. As a result, the EU differential may have declined on average in Germany in recent years. Now, consider the example of Spain. Even though the austerity measures demanded by Brussels in the context of the Eurozone crisis have led to significant cuts in social benefits, and the country relinquished much of its ability to shape macro-economic policy by being part of the Euro, support for EU membership remains high. In fact, support is among the highest in the EU as a whole (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016a, 2016b). The strong support for the EU in Spain is at least in part the result of a corrosion of trust in national politicians. Over the last decade, Spanish politics has been shaken up by more than a dozen corruption scandals involving high-ranking politicians, such as the current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (Solaz et al. 2017). Indeed, Transparency International (2016), a non-governmental organization dedicated to combatting corruption by providing free and easily accessible information, in its 2016 report rates Spain as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Spain was ranked 36th of most corrupt countries in the world, among the worst ranked European countries on the list. As a result of these national corruption scandals, and the deterioration of national policy and regime evaluations, even if EU policy and regime evaluations have deteriorated slightly as well during the Eurozone crisis, the EU differential on average may have increased in Spain in recent years. These examples suggest that EU differentials are likely to change considerably over time in response to real-world developments. Moreover, they underline the notion that support and scepticism are based on benchmarks. People are expected to update their EU differentials in light of changes in both national and European conditions. I examine these expectations in this chapter and show that people’s EU differentials indeed respond to real-world conditions. They move in predictable ways. As such, they present an important signpost for national and European elites. This chapter proceeds as follows. First, it examines the effects of different types of events on people’s EU differentials based on ESS data, and compares whether people’s EU differentials are different for those who were exposed to specific events compared to those who were not exposed. In a next step, the responsiveness of people’s EU differentials is explored further by means of a unique survey experiment conducted in nine member states. Finally, the chapter concludes by examining if political sophistication affects people’s ability to update EU differentials in line with real-world conditions. I find no 58

Kicking Up a Fuss?

sophistication effects. Respondents, regardless of their level of sophistication, seemed able to update EU differentials in line with information about changing real-world conditions.

3.1 Public Responsiveness to Real-World Conditions Demonstrating that public opinion is responsive to real-world conditions is not straightforward. Most studies to date have aimed to explore the extent to which the policies and priorities of EU and government officials reflect the contours of European public opinion. A recent study by Dimiter Toshkov (2011), for example, suggests that public opinion affects legislative production at the EU level, but that this relationship ceased to exist after the middle of the 1990s. This might be largely accounted for by the fact that the overall volume of legislative production in the EU has been declining since 1996 (Dehousse and Rozenberg 2015). Turning their attention to the Council, Petya Alexandrova and colleagues (2016) show that since the Eurozone crisis the Council agenda closely mirrors the ranking of public concerns. Moreover, work by Sara Hagemann and colleagues (2016) demonstrates that national government officials are responsive to public opinion in the Council. Specifically, national governments are more likely to oppose legislative proposals in the Council when they face a Eurosceptic domestic electorate. Governments are also more responsive when the EU is salient in domestic party competition. Looking at the issue of government responsiveness more generally and by relying on a wealth of observational and experimental data, Christina Schneider (2017) demonstrates that national governments are increasingly willing to signal responsiveness to domestic publics. Because EU issues have become more politicized in domestic politics, governments are more likely than ever before to signal responsiveness in EU affairs. This may largely be the result of an increasing likelihood of ratification failures or punishment in domestic elections (see also Schneider 2013). Finally, a field experiment among members of the European Parliament that I have conducted with two colleagues indicates that although only 28 per cent of parliamentarians in Brussels respond to constituency service requests of voters, they display very little bias in their responses (De Vries et al. 2017). While studies show that American or Swiss legislators seem to be driven primarily by re-election considerations and reply only to requests by voters who can realistically affect that electoral prospects (Dropp and Peskowitz 2012; Giger et al. 2017), members of the European Parliament seem to respond to the concerns of all voters. These studies are important as they qualify, at least in part, our conventional wisdom about the unresponsiveness of European elites and the democratic deficit. That said, such studies focus on the responsiveness of European 59

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

and national elites to public opinion, rather than on the reverse. My goal here is different. I aim to examine if people’s EU differentials respond to changes in real-world conditions. Studies to date provide limited insight into the extent to which public support and scepticism are responsive. Only when the public is responsive to the world around them can public opinion serve as an important cue for political elites allowing them to adjust their policies accordingly. In order to establish a causal link between real-world developments, I rely on approaches from other subfields of political science. For example, many studies aiming to explore if people blame or reward governments for specific policies have used natural disasters as way to do so (Healy et al. 2010; Bechtel and Hainmueller 2011). Focusing on exogenous events such as these helps us to establish a causal ordering between government activities and public opinion. Building on this work, I explore if public opinion is responsive to events by examining if the EU differentials of people interviewed before the event differ from those interviewed afterwards. I rely on events that are exogenous, and could not have been anticipated. The choice of events also faced several practical constraints. Specifically, the events needed to fall within the fieldwork period of a large-scale public opinion survey, and this survey had to allow for the measurement of people’s EU differentials. The multiple rounds of the ESS for specific countries allow for this. I selected events along two dimensions: (a) whether they are expected to increase or decrease the EU differential, and (b) whether they refer to the national or European level. Table 3.1 provides an overview of four different types of events: national-negative, Europeannegative, national-positive, and European-positive. The terms negative and positive relate to the expected direction of the change in the EU differential: negative events should decrease the EU differential while positive ones should increase it. The terms European and national relate to the level of government at which the event took place. National-negative events relate to incidents taking place at the national level that are expected to push people’s EU differential downward. Here we can think of an important event that reflects positively on a country. This could be a country winning a big sports contest or a national figure receiving an international distinction. These at first sight—seemingly politically irrelevant—events have been shown to increase support for the incumbent Table 3.1. Four types of events Level

National European

60

Effect on EU differential Negative

Positive

National-negative European-negative

National-positive European-positive

Kicking Up a Fuss?

government or the system as a whole (see for example Healy et al. 2010). When such an event occurs, it is expected to boost national evaluations. People’s EU differential should decrease as a result. European-negative events relate to incidents at the EU level that decrease people’s EU differentials. One can think of corruption scandals involving European institutions, such as those involving the European Commission or Parliament in the past. People’s evaluations of the benefits of membership are likely going to deteriorate when political malfeasance at the EU level is uncovered, and the EU differential should decrease as a result. National-positive events relate to incidents that reflect negatively on the national system. They might relate to corruption scandals at the national level for instance. This type of event should decrease people’s national evaluations, and thus increase the EU differential. Finally, European-positive events relate to European occurrences that boost evaluations of the benefits of membership. These could be symbolic in nature such an important recognition of the EU’s achievements, such as the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for example. Distinguishing between the level and direction of the effect in Table 3.1 is important as it allows a prediction to be made of how specific types of events should affect people’s EU differentials differently. If I find that people’s EU differentials move in the way suggested in the previous paragraph, this lends credence to the idea that the perceived benefits of the status quo and alternative state are indeed separable factors in people’s minds. This would provide support for the benchmark theory outlined in Chapter 2. Finally, if people’s EU differentials react differently to these four types of events, it suggests that the European public today is attentive and responsive, rather than largely permissive and indifferent to changes in European and national conditions. This would also imply that public opinion today has the potential to inform policy making at both the national and European levels. I aim to causally identify the effects of real-world conditions by exploring how four different exogenous events, that fit the four types outlined in Table 3.1, affect people’s EU differentials. I chose four events that are exogenous, in the sense that people could not have predicted them to happen and change their EU differentials accordingly. If they were able to strategically anticipate the event chosen, I would not be able to examine if the four types of events indeed cause people to update their EU differentials. Moreover, these events should fall within the fieldwork period of an ESS survey that allows me to measure people’s EU differentials. I chose two categories of events that meet these two conditions (unanticipated and within the ESS fieldwork): (a) the release of corruption scandals in the mass media, and (b) the press releases of the Nobel Peace Prize committee stating the year’s recipient. Table 3.2 provides an overview of the events chosen based on how these are expected to affect the EU differential and to what level of government they refer. Overall, 61

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 3.2. Selection of events Level

National European

Effect on EU differential Negative

Positive

Ahtisaari Nobel Peace Prize in Finland, 2008 (Finnish Survey, ESS 2008) ‘Cash for Influence’ corruption scandal in the European Parliament, 2011 (Cypriote Survey, ESS 2010)

‘Bárcenas’ corruption scandal in Spain, 2013 (Spanish Survey, ESS 2012) Receipt of Nobel Peace Prize of the EU, 2012 (German Survey, ESS 2012)

I expect a national corruption scandal and the EU’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize to increase the EU differential, while a European corruption scandal and national receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize should reduce it. The four different events all fall in the fieldwork period of an ESS round in the countries listed in Table 3.2. This allows me to compare the EU differentials of those who were interviewed before and after the event in a quasiexperimental setting. The date respondents were interviewed serves as the variable that assigns individuals to the treatment or control group. Respondents who were interviewed before the event took place are assigned to the control group and those interviewed afterwards are assigned to the treatment group. The treatment variable can be defined as:  0 if observation i was interviewed before the event; and is part of control group Ti ¼ 1 if observation i was interviewed after the event; and is part of treatment group I restrict the treatment period to two weeks, as it seems realistic to assume that a treatment effect lasts for only a short period of time (see also Legewie 2013; Solaz et al. 2017). This design relies on a core assumption. The timing of the interviews across the fieldwork period, or at least small differences around the cut-off date, must occur by chance. I test this assumption by means of balance tests and placebo tests.1 A balance test examines the extent to which the control and treatment group are similar. The higher the similarity between two groups, the more certain we can be that the effect found is based solely on being interviewed after the event happened. The balance tests reveal that respondents in the treatment group were on average more likely to be employed, while respondents in the control group are more likely to be out of work. This result is not entirely surprising given that it is more difficult to reach respondents who are in paid work, and hence they are more likely to be interviewed later in the fieldwork period. In order to account for this potential selection effect, I have added employment status as a key individual-level 1 The full results of the balance and placebo tests are reported in Tables A.1 and A.2 of the Appendix.

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Kicking Up a Fuss? Table 3.3. Effect of event type on the EU regime differential

Treatment effect Individual level covariates Fixed effects N

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Positive/ national

Negative/ European

Negative/ national

Positive/ European

0.42* (0.20) ✓ ✓

–0.72* (0.30) ✓ ✓

–1.02* (0.54) ✓ ✓

0.35* (0.16) ✓ ✓

733

277

668

678

Notes: Table entries are regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses. Individual level covariates included: age, gender, education, employment status, and income. * significant at a p  0.05 level. Sources: European Social Survey 2008, 2010, & 2012 respectively.

covariate in the regression analyses. I also conducted placebo tests by choosing two random dates and examining if people’s EU differentials differed based on being interviewed before or after an event. The placebo tests showed that no differences in the EU differentials between the control and treatment group exist at other dates chosen at random and when no event of significance took place. I now examine if exposure to the different types of events indeed affected people’s EU differentials in the way hypothesized earlier (see Table 3.1). The results of the regression analyses are presented in Table 3.3. The EU regime differential is the dependent variable, and the treatment indicator (T) that specifies if a respondent was interviewed before or after the event is the main variable of interest. I focus here on the effect of events on people’s EU regime differential, because the 2008, 2010, and 2012 rounds of the ESS that I rely on do not all include the questions needed to construct the EU policy differential for the respective countries. Recall that the EU differential varies from +10 evaluating the European Parliament as completely trustworthy and the national parliament as not and –10 signifying complete trust in the national parliament and distrust of the European Parliament. The results presented in Table 3.3 are robust against the inclusion of both individual level covariates and regional fixed effects. The first event to be considered is a positive-national one. It is the Bárcenas corruption scandal in Spain involving the governing Popular Party (PP). The Bárcenas scandal uncovered widespread corruption, namely an extensive misappropriation of funds, by the ruling conservative party in Spain, the PP. On 31 January 2013 internal party documents handwritten by the party treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, were leaked to the most widely circulated Spanish newspaper El País.2 The documents revealed a parallel bookkeeping system operated by the 2 The leaked documents were published in their entirety on the website of El País, see http:// elpais.com/especiales/2013/caso_barcenas/todos_los_papeles.html (accessed 26 February 2017).

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party for almost two decades (1980–2009) that recorded undeclared and illegal cash donations to Swiss bank accounts. These accounts involved many highranking PP officials including the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and were used to pay them bonuses as well as cover daily party expenses. The publication of the so-called Bárcenas papers, los papeles de Bárcenas, triggered widespread and long-lasting news coverage in the Spanish and international media (Solaz et al. 2017). This national corruption scandal constitutes a positivenational event, in that it occurs in a member state not at the EU level and should increase the EU differential. Model 1 in Table 3.3 presents the average treatment effect of being exposed to the Bárcenas corruption scandal involving the Spanish governing party PP. The results show that this is indeed the case. The EU regime differential increases. Moreover, the results indicate that being exposed to the scandal increases the EU regime differential by almost half a point (0.42). Spanish citizens updated their EU regime differential in favour of the EU after being exposed to the widespread and long-lasting corruption of their national government. The second event relates to a negative-European event, namely the 2011 Cash for Influence corruption scandal in the European Parliament. In 2011, the European Commission’s Anti-fraud Office opened a formal investigation into corruption allegations against several members of the European Parliament. The investigation was initiated after an article appeared in The Sunday Times claiming that several members of the European Parliament had tried to influence EU legislation in exchange for money. Sunday Times journalists posed as lobbyists requesting votes to be tabled or support for certain amendments in exchange for money. They approached sixty members of the European Parliament in total. Three members of the European Parliament turned out to have accepted these bribes, namely the Romanian member of the European Parliament Adrian Severin, Austrian Ernst Strasser, and the Slovenian Zoran Thaler. A fourth member of the European Parliament was initially involved, namely the Spaniard Pablo Zalba Bidegain, but eventually cleared. The story broke on 20 March 2011 in the middle of the fieldwork of the Cypriote round of the ESS.3 This European corruption scandal constitutes a negative-European event, and should thus decrease the EU differential. Model 2 in Table 3.3 presents the results of the Cash for Influence scandal on the EU regime differential. It is expected that those interviewed after the news broke about a widespread corruption scandal involving members of the European Parliament to display a more negative EU differential. The results show that this is indeed the case. Being exposed to the scandal significantly

3 Sunday Times journalists reported on an ongoing investigation on corruption in the European Parliament: see The Sunday Times, ‘Insight: Euro MPs exposed in “cash-for-laws” scandal’, 20 March 2011.

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reduced people’s EU regime differential. The results indicate that being exposed to the scandal decreases the EU regime differential by almost one point (–0.72). Cypriote citizens adjusted their EU regime differential in favour of their national system after being exposed to corruption in the European Parliament. The third type relates to a negative-national event. I examine the effect of the announcement that the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the former Finnish Prime Minister Martii Ahtisaari on the EU differential of Finnish citizens. Former Prime Minister Ahtisaari received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in fostering peace and reconciliation as a senior Finnish public servant working for his own government or the United Nations. He was awarded the distinction for his role in trying to resolve several long-standing conflicts in Namibia, Indonesia, Kosovo, and Northern Ireland. The press notice was released on 10 October 2008.4 I expect exposure to this event, that reflects positively on Finnish politics, to decrease the EU differential for Finnish respondents. Model 3 in Table 3.3 presents the results for the Finnish case. The fact that a former prime minister received the Nobel Peace Prize should decrease the EU regime differential, and this is what is found. The results indicate that being interviewed after the press release by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee decreased the EU regime differential by over one point (–1.02). Finnish citizens updated their EU regime differential after receiving positive news about a former prime minister. Finally, I consider a positive-European event. I examine the effect of the announcement that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the EU as a whole on people’s EU differentials in Germany. The official press release was released on 12 October 2012. This date falls within the German fieldwork for the ESS 2012. In keeping with the Finnish results, I expect the receipt of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to affect the EU regime differential of German citizens interviewed after the news broke. The Nobel Peace Prize committee awarded the EU as it contributed to ‘the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe’ for over six decades.5 The fact that the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize should increase the EU differential as the award underscores the accomplishments of the European project. Model 4 in Table 3.3 presents the results. It was indeed found that being interviewed after the press release of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee increases the EU regime differential by almost half a point (.35). German citizens updated 4 The Nobel Peace Prize Committee published its press release ‘The Nobel Peace Prize for 2008’ on its website on 10 October 2008: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2008/ press.html. 5 The Nobel Peace Prize Committee published its press release ‘The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012’ on its website on 12 October 2012: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2012/ press.html.

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their EU regime differential in favour of the EU after receiving positive news about the EU’s accomplishments. Overall, these findings suggest that people’s EU differentials move in predictable ways. When people receive positive news about Europe, their EU differential increases; when they are exposed to negative news about the EU, the regime differential decreases. Importantly, and in line with the notion of benchmarks, people are not only receptive of EU events, but also national ones. The EU differential deteriorates based on positive national events, while it increases as a response to negative national events. This suggests that people’s EU attitudes are indeed contingent on what happens at both the national and EU levels.

3.2 A Survey Experiment on Public Responsiveness I will now delve deeper into the degree to which people’s EU differentials are responsive to real-world conditions. The results presented in Section 3.1 provide an important first step in establishing the degree to which public opinion in Europe is responsive to events, and the extent to which people’s EU differentials move in ways one would predict based on the benchmark theory. That said, the analysis also comes with certain limitations. Most importantly, it does not allow me to control the exact setting and information people are exposed to. Are people responding to the event itself, or the framing of the media or political parties for example? On the basis of the findings in Section 3.1, there is no way of knowing exactly. In order to gain more control over the information people receive and the setting in which it is provided, I complement the previous analysis with a survey experiment. The survey experiment was embedded in the eupinions survey fielded in late August 2016 that I developed with Isabell Hoffmann on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b).6 The survey experiment was conducted in nine different EU member states: Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The survey is unique in its multi-country reach. Most survey experiments usually combine data from one or two countries only. The dependent variable in the experiment is people’s EU differential. It is

6 The data are based on a sample of users of over 30,000 apps and mobile phone websites, covering all major content categories while guaranteeing broad access to all demographic groups across different geographic regions within the EU. Respondents are randomly selected to join the survey, and in order to avoid self-selection on topics, the invitations are presented in a generic format without any information about the content of the survey. A comparison of the demographical background of eupinions respondents with nationally representative surveys show very little difference (De Vries and Hoffmann 2015, 2016a, 2016b).

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identical to the operationalization that was cross-validated against the ESS measure in Chapter 2. To tap into people’s regime evaluations the following questions were included: (1) ‘How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in the European Union?’ and (2) ‘How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in your country?’ Answers range from (1) ‘very dissatisfied’ to (4) ‘very satisfied’. The EU regime differential measure subtracts the satisfaction score for the EU from the satisfaction score for a respondent’s country. The EU regime differential varies from –4 indicating complete satisfaction with national democracy and complete dissatisfaction with EU democracy to +4 signifying complete satisfaction with EU democracy and complete dissatisfaction with national democracy. The survey experiment seeks to capture the effect of a positive-national event on people’s EU differentials. The experiment consisted of one treatment and one control group. Respondents were randomly assigned to either the control or treatment group. The control group received no information, while the treatment group received a vignette stating that ‘According to international organizations, corruption in [COUNTRY] seems to be on the rise in recent years.’ Both the control and treatment groups were then asked about their national and European regime evaluations. Recall that I expect people’s EU differential to increase when they are exposed to corruption at the national level. After these questions, respondents were asked about the importance of corruption for their voting decision. The importance of the corruption question was introduced as a check to establish if the experimental treatment raised the importance of corruption in people’s minds. It constitutes a socalled manipulation check. The importance of corruption was captured by the following survey item: ‘How important is corruption to you as a factor in deciding who to vote for?’ Answers range from (0) ‘not important at all’ to (10) ‘very important’. In order to make sure that people responded to the corruption vignette in the way expected and that they attached importance to it, I first examine if corruption is more important in deciding which party to vote for among people assigned to the treatment group. Table 3.4 provides an overview. Model 1 shows the result of an analysis where I regressed being assigned to the treatment or control group on the importance of corruption for the vote. As the survey was conducted in nine different countries, the analysis also controls for country-specific effects by including country dummies. I also include the interaction between country dummies and the treatment to examine if the treatment differs across country contexts.7 The results presented in Model 1 of Table 3.4 suggest that people who received the corruption vignette are more likely to view corruption as an 7 None of these interactions produced a significant effect, indicating that the treatment worked in similar ways in the countries where the experiment was conducted.

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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 3.4. Effect of national corruption vignette

Treatment effect Fixed effects N

Model 1

Model 2

Corruption importance

EU regime differential

0.67* (0.24) ✓ 12089

0.15* (0.07) ✓ 12089

Notes: Table entries are regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses. * significant at the p  0.05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

important factor in deciding which party to vote for. This suggests that the vignette did increase the importance of corruption at the national level in people’s minds, and can increase confidence in the survey experiment. In a next step, I examine if being exposed to the vignette that states that corruption is on the rise in one’s country affects people’s EU regime differentials. Based on the benchmark theory, I would expect that people who receive information about corruption at the national level should display higher EU differentials. Model 2 in Table 3.4 suggests that this is indeed the case. People who were randomly assigned to the treatment group, and thus received a vignette stating that corruption in their country increased, were more likely to hold positive EU regime evaluations vis-à-vis national ones compared to those in the control group who received no corruption information. These findings support the evidence presented earlier in this chapter, and suggest that people’s EU differentials are indeed responsive to specific information about changes in real-world conditions. Next, I examine if the effect of the corruption vignette differs based on the two different kinds of EU differentials. I suggested earlier that when people compare the status quo of EU membership to an alternative state, namely their country being outside the EU, they can weigh up two kinds of benefits: those relating to policy and those relating to the regime. So far, I have only considered the effect on people’s EU regime differentials. For an analysis of how people’s EU differential changes as a result of being exposed to four types of events—negative-national, negative-European, positive-national, or positiveEuropean—based on existing survey data, I could only rely on people’s EU regime differential, as not all the specific country ESS data used included measures to construct an EU policy differential. In my survey experiment, I included measures of people’s EU regime and policy differentials. In the case of the corruption vignette that was used as a treatment in the survey experiment, I would expect that informing people about political malfeasance would primarily affect people’s regime evaluations. The presence of corruption provides people with important information about how well rules and 68

Kicking Up a Fuss?

procedures work in practice. As a consequence, we would expect that when people are provided with information that corruption is widespread, this should reduce their evaluations of how well a political regime works. The expectation for people’s EU policy differential is less clear. One could expect an increase in people’s EU policy differential, although less pronounced in comparison to people’s EU regime differential, or one could expect no effect at all as people might still get the policies they prefer even if they believe the system to be corrupt. In order to explore these possibilities, I examine the effect of the corruption vignette on people’s EU policy differential as well. The EU policy differential is based on two questions: (1) ‘Would you say that policy is currently moving in the right direction in the European Union?’ and (2) ‘Would you say that policy is currently moving in the right direction in your country?’ Answers ranged from (1) ‘no, in the wrong direction’ to (2) ‘yes, in the right direction’. The EU policy differential measure subtracts evaluation of the policy direction in the EU from evaluation of the policy direction in a respondent’s country. The EU policy differential varies from –2 indicating satisfaction with the national policy direction and dissatisfaction with the EU policy direction to +2 signifying satisfaction with the EU policy direction and dissatisfaction with the national policy direction. I replicate the previous analysis presented in Table 3.4, but now regress the assignment to the control versus treatment group on people’s EU policy differential. Table 3.5 presents the results. The findings suggest that providing people with information about an increase in corruption in their own country does not affect people’s EU policy differential. This may not be entirely surprising as corruption does not necessarily preclude a system from providing policies and public goods that people prefer. It does, however, lower the quality of government and perceptions that the rules and procedures function fairly. Taken together, the findings in Tables 3.4 and 3.5 show that exposure to information that the level of corruption is rising in one’s country raised the Table 3.5. Effect on EU policy differential Model 1 EU policy differential

Fixed effects

0.01 (0.03) ✓

N

12089

Treatment effect

Notes: Table entries are regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses. * significant at a p  0.05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

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importance of corruption in the minds of respondents and led to an increase in the EU regime differential. This is in line with the expectation that negative-national events, negative information about an event occurring at the national level, increases people’s EU regime differential. There is no effect on people’s EU policy differential. These findings suggest that people are able to distinguish the outcomes a system provides from the way the system operates. Hence, exploring both people’s regime and their policy evaluations is important.

3.3 The Role of Political Sophistication In a final step, I explore possible differences between respondents in the degree to which they respond to negative information about their country. Although I have assumed that the comparison of the benefits of the status quo of EU membership to those associated with the alternative state, their country being outside the EU, is not cognitively demanding, I wish to test this assumption. I do so by exploring potential differences in the effects of exposure to the corruption vignette based on people’s political sophistication. A wellestablished line of research focusing primarily on political behaviour in the United States demonstrates the conditional impact of political sophistication and salience on voters’ political attitudes and behaviour (see for example Alvarez and Brehm 1997; Krosnick 1988; Sniderman et al. 1991; Kuklinski et al. 2001; Lau and Redlawsk 2001; Basinger and Lavine 2005; Baldassarri 2013). Also, scholars of economic voting are increasingly concerned with the importance of political sophistication (see for example Duch 2001; Gomez and Wilson 2001). Focusing on retrospective voting more generally, Nathalie Giger and I show that holding governments to account for past performance is more laborious than previously assumed, and primarily the domain of highly sophisticated citizens. Yet, at the same time, we demonstrate that the sophistication gap in retrospective voting shrinks when voters care about government activities in a particular policy area (De Vries and Giger 2014). This line of research underscores the importance of examining the extent to which citizens of high and low political sophistication respond differently to political stimuli. I understand political sophistication as the store of political knowledge available to an individual to be called upon when making judgements or decisions (see for example Luskin 1987; Zaller 1992). I measure political sophistication by utilizing factual knowledge questions available in the eupinions survey. The political sophistication measure is a variable that counts the correct answers to the two knowledge questions and ranges accordingly from (1) low knowledge to (3) high knowledge. The two questions ask respondents if the following statements are true, false, or if they are not sure: 70

Kicking Up a Fuss?

(a) ‘Switzerland is a member of the European Union’, and (b) ‘Each member state elects the same number of representatives to the European Parliament’. The correct answer is that both of these statements are false. People who answered both questions correctly were coded as 3 and those who answered only one correctly as 2 and the rest as 1. Overall, 32 per cent of respondents in the nine countries where the survey experiment was conducted answered all questions correctly, 40 per cent only one, and 28 per cent provided incorrect answers to both questions. I opt for factual knowledge questions rather than subjective assessments of political interest as, although both variables may tap into a similar latent trait, factual knowledge measures are less affected by social desirability bias. When people self-report their level of political sophistication, they want to provide a more positive self-image and may react to the expectations of interviewers (Zaller 1992). Table 3.6 shows the effects of political sophistication. Specifically, it presents the results of an analysis whereby assignment to the control or treatment group on the EU regime and policy differential is interacted with people’s level of political sophistication. The results show that the interaction effect between being exposed to a corruption vignette and political sophistication is not statistically significant. This seems to suggest that the effect of being exposed to corruption information does not differ based on people’s level of political sophistication. Similarly to Tables 3.4 and 3.5, we find a statistically significant treatment of effect on people’s EU regime differential, but not on people’s EU policy differential, while we find no significant interaction effects based on political sophistication for either. Table 3.7 presents an overview of the size of the difference between the control and treatment groups for people at different levels of political sophistication, and shows whether this effect is statistically significant. The second

Table 3.6. Effect of political sophistication Model 1

Model 2

EU regime differential

EU policy differential

Fixed effects

0.14* (0.07) 0.29* (0.14) 0.18 (0.30) ✓

0.02 (0.04) 0.13 (0.07) 0.11 (0.16) ✓

N

12089

12089

Treatment effect Political sophistication Treatment* sophistication

Notes: Table entries are regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses. * significant at a p  0.05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

71

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 3.7. Difference in treatment effect by political sophistication Difference in Treatment Effect

Medium vs Low Sophistication (2 vs 1) High vs Low Sophistication (3 vs 1) High vs Medium Sophistication (3 vs 2) Country fixed effects N

Model 1

Model 2

EU regime differential

EU policy differential

0.05

–0.03

0.10

–0.05

0.05

–0.03





12089

12089

Notes: Table entries are differences in treatment effects. * significant at a p  0.05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

row of the table provides the difference in the treatment effects for people at medium versus low political sophistication. The second column shows the effect for people’s EU regime differentials and the third column for policy differentials. The difference in the treatment effect of people at medium (2) versus low political sophistication (1) is 0.05 for people’s regime differential and –0.03 for people’s EU policy differential. Neither of these effects is statistically significant. When we inspect the other rows in Table 3.7, we see that the differences in the treatment effect among people at different levels of political sophistication are small and never reach a conventional level of statistical significance. This suggests that the effect of being exposed to information that corruption at the national level increased does not vary with people’s level of political sophistication.

3.4 Summary The results in this chapter suggest that people update their regime EU differential in response to events. When people are exposed to negative events about the EU, their EU differential decreases, while exposure to positive events increases their differential. Importantly, and in line with the benchmark theory, people’s EU differentials are not only receptive to EU events, but also to national events. The EU differential deteriorates when people are exposed to positive national events, while it increases in response to negative national events. These findings lend credence to the idea that people’s EU attitudes are indeed contingent on what happens both at the national and at the EU level. Moreover, the findings presented in this chapter suggest that people are able 72

Kicking Up a Fuss?

to differentiate between the policies a system provides and the regime that yields them. The findings from the corruption survey experiment suggest that exposure to information that the level of corruption is rising in one’s country raised the importance of corruption in the minds of respondents and increased the EU regime differential. No such effect on people’s EU policy differential was found. This supports the intuition that people are able to distinguish between the regime and the policies it produces. When a system is corrupt, this may not necessarily mean that people do not get the policies they prefer. Finally, the chapter has demonstrated that political sophistication does not necessarily affect the way people adjust their EU differential in line with information about changes in real-world conditions. Updating one’s EU differential in line with information about an increase in corruption at the national level is something all respondents seem able to do, not only the most politically sophisticated. This finding is in line with the notion that people, sophisticated or not, are able to compare the perceived benefits from the status quo of membership to those associated with the alternative state, their country being outside the EU. Overall, these findings support the benchmark theory, and suggest that EU public opinion is responsive to changes in real-world conditions, reacts to changes at both the national and European levels, and moves in predictable ways.

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Part III A Typology of Support and Scepticism

4 A Divided Public? Types of Support and Scepticism

Hungary is part of the Western alliance system, NATO and the European Union. There is no doubt about this, nor will there be during our administration. We are, however, members of these alliances and not hostages. Viktor Orban, 10 May 2014, Budapest

The benchmark theory conceives of EU support and scepticism as relational concepts. They involve a comparison. People compare the perceived benefits from the status quo, their country’s EU membership, to the benefits they associate with the alternative state, their country being outside the EU. This comparison is what I called the EU differential. If the EU differential is positive, that is to say when the perceived benefits of the status quo exceed those associated with the alternative, people can be classified as EU supporters. When the EU differential is negative, when the perceived benefits of the alternative are perceived to outweigh those of membership, people are classified as EU sceptics. When comparing the status quo of membership to the alternative of one’s country being outside the EU, people consider two types of benefits, those relating to policy and those relating to the regime. While the former taps into how people evaluate the public goods and policies that are currently being provided at the EU or national level, or those that were provided in the past, the latter refers to people’s evaluations of the way the rules and procedures of a political system operate. This chapter goes a step further and considers how people’s EU policy and regime differentials together bring about different kinds of support and scepticism. Support and scepticism are based on a combination of people’s EU policy and regime differentials. These differentials can point in the same direction, that is to say people hold both positive or both EU negative policy and regime differentials, but they can also point in different directions. Based

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

on these patterns of differentials, I distinguish four different kinds of support or scepticism: Loyal Support, Policy Scepticism, Regime Scepticism, and Exit Scepticism. The types are important as they characterize different people and country contexts. Moreover, the remaining chapters of the book demonstrate that the types are linked to different issue priorities and positions, divergent behaviour in elections and EU referendums, and differences in demands for EU reform. As a result, an increase in a certain type will have very different consequences for the European project.

4.1 Four Types of Support and Scepticism When people’s EU regime and policy differentials are considered jointly, four different types of EU support and scepticism emerge. These are portrayed in Figure 4.1. On the y-axis, the figure plots people’s EU regime differential from negative to positive, while the x-axis shows people’s EU policy differential, also from negative to positive. Recall that those who hold negative EU policy or regime differentials perceive the benefits of the alternative state to exceed the current status quo of membership, while those who display positive differentials perceive the benefits of the status quo to be greater than those associated with their country being outside. Let me elaborate each of these types in turn. The first type is Exit Scepticism which we find in the bottom-left corner of Figure 4.1. This type characterizes the most EU sceptical citizens who combine a negative EU regime differential with a negative policy differential. Exit sceptics perceive the alternative state, their country being outside the EU,

EU regime differential

positive

Loyal support

Policy scepticism negative

positive

Regime scepticism

Exit scepticism

negative

EU policy differential Figure 4.1. Four types of support and scepticism

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as preferable over the status quo of membership. They do so based on both their evaluations of past and current policies as well as of the way the rules and procedures operate. For exit sceptics the notion of their country going it alone is considered a gain compared to the current state of membership. Exit sceptics thus oppose the EU because they view that there is a viable alternative political system that functions well, namely their nation state. Although the possible policy and regime benefits associated with leaving the EU are uncertain, exit sceptics view them nonetheless as more positive compared to the status quo. The polar opposite of exit scepticism is Loyal Support found in the upperright corner of Figure 4.1. Loyal supporters hold both positive EU regime and policy differentials. They perceive that the regime and policy benefits of EU membership are greater than those associated with their country leaving the EU. Their country seceding the Union would lead them to lose out both in terms of the public goods and policies that are provided as well as in terms of the system that yields them. Loyal supporters lack a viable exit option, and support the status quo of membership. Regime and Policy Scepticism fall in between these two extremes; see the lower-right and upper-left corners of Figure 4.1 respectively. While regime sceptics evaluate the way the rules and procedures operate at the EU level as less positive compared to the national level, due to concerns about the democratic deficit for example, they feel that EU membership entails significant policy benefits. Regime sceptics might, for example, view supranational cooperation at the EU level as a powerful tool to deliver policy outcomes that could not be achieved if their country were to be outside the EU. The reverse holds true for policy sceptics. Policy sceptics are wary of current and past public good provision and policies at the EU level. At the same time, however, they feel that the rules and procedures at the EU level are preferable to those found at the national level. Policy making at the EU level often results in policy compromises based on the lowest common denominator due to heterogeneity in country preferences (Moravcsik 1998). Against this backdrop, policy sceptics may hold the view that policies would be better if their country ceased to be a member of the EU. While exit sceptics and loyal supporters hold unified views about the EU, exit sceptics oppose it while loyal supporters embrace it, and the views of policy and regime sceptics are characterized by ambivalence. Scholars of public opinion call attention to the possibility that individuals are able to simultaneously like and dislike an attitude object. In this theory, the complete attitude is not defined as a single point, but as a pair of points that characterize the intensity of liking and disliking (Feldman and Zaller 1992; Feldman 1995; Cacioppo et al. 1997). People possess multiple predispositions, which may either be conflicting, here referred to as ambivalent, or reconciled, referred to as unified. One can think about public attitudes towards an object as 79

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

a sampling distribution (Feldman and Zaller 1992). When an individual answers a survey question, she will sample from one part of her distribution. People who hold unified attitudes will have a tight sampling distribution closely dispersed around the centrist position, while people with ambivalent attitudes have a widely spread distribution that includes many or even equal numbers of likes and dislikes. Policy and regime scepticism are examples of ambivalent attitudes. This is important because these attitudes are often held with higher uncertainty, prove less coherent, and will have less clear behavioural consequences (Alvarez and Brehm 2002). Ambivalent EU sceptics are those who Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart (2008a, 2008b) would call soft Eurosceptics. These authors used the term ‘soft Euroscepticism’ in the context of party competition not public opinion. Soft Eurosceptics are those political parties that oppose certain policies or institutional aspects at the European level, but do not oppose the entire project as such. Soft Euroscepticism thus signifies the kind of ambivalence that policy and regime sceptics experience. Exit sceptics on the other hand fall more into the hard scepticism category that Szczerbiak and Taggart use to classify political parties. Hard Eurosceptic parties oppose the EU as whole, and may reject membership as such. In Chapter 6, I show that there is in fact a close link between public and party unified (hard) and ambivalent (soft) scepticism. It is important to note that the four different types of support and scepticism outlined here constitute ideal types. This means that some people may fit into one category better than others. Although the development of ideal types is always based on a simplification, it nonetheless helps us to understand and uncover important general relationships between support and scepticism and specific kinds of behaviour and policy preferences. Based on the operationalizations of the EU regime and policy differentials used in Chapters 2 and 3, it is possible to examine the relative size of the different types within the EU as a whole as well as within individual member states. I start by considering the EU as a whole. Figure 4.2 pits the EU regime differential against the EU policy differential, and plots a country as a coordinate on both dimensions. The figure thus provides information about the average attitude characteristics of a national public. It uses data from the most recent wave of the ESS (2014), the survey used in Chapters 2 and 3, crossvalidated with the EES 2014 and the eupinions survey from 2016. While at the country level both measures appear to track together somewhat, I find only a modest relationship (Pearson’s R = .24) between people’s EU policy and regime differentials at the individual level. This latter finding suggests that for many citizens regime and policy evaluations do not necessarily tap into the same thing, a conclusion that is supported by the findings presented in Chapter 3. 80

A Divided Public? 3 Policy sceptics

Loyal supporters

EU regime differential

2 Hungary

1

Poland Slovenia

Ireland Czech Republic

0

Portugal Estonia Belgium

Spain

France

Netherlands Germany Great Britain Finland Denmark

–1

Sweden

–2 Exit sceptics

Regime sceptics

–3 –3

–2

–1

0 EU policy differential

1

2

3

Figure 4.2. Plotting countries in an EU differential space in 2014 Note: Figure entries represent the average (mean) EU regime differential in a country in 2014 plotted against the average (mean) EU policy differential. Source: European Social Survey 2014.

Figure 4.2 shows that countries can be found in all four quadrants, albeit that only public opinion in the Czech Republic can be classified as policy sceptical in 2014. Seven countries, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, can be classified as loyal supporters, although two, Belgium and Estonia, fall on the border between loyal support and regime scepticism. In five countries, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, public opinion can be categorized as regime sceptic, although the Netherlands falls on the border with exit scepticism and France touches the border with loyal support. Public opinion in two countries, Great Britain and Sweden, clearly falls into the exit scepticism category in 2014. The Brexit result in 2016 might therefore not be so surprising in light of these finding. This is something I explore in more depth in Chapter 7. What about the share of loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in the EU as a whole? Figure 4.3 illustrates this information based on aggregating the information about the countries under investigation. Remember that people who hold neutral EU regime and policy differentials, that is to say who are equally positive or negative about the regime and policies at the European and national level, are classified as loyal supporters. This is due to the notion of status quo bias: people who are largely indifferent about the status quo of membership 81

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 60

Percentage

50 40 30 20 10 0 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 4.3. Types of support and scepticism in 2014 Note: Figure entries represent the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in 2014. Source: European Social Survey 2014.

of the alternative state should display a preference for the status quo over change. Figure 4.3 shows that loyal supporters are still the biggest group in 2014 at 43 per cent. Yet, a majority of people, 57 per cent, can be classified as sceptic: 23 per cent of people fall into the regime sceptic camp, 16 per cent can be classified as policy sceptics, and 18 per cent fall into the exit scepticism category. Although this can be considered somewhat reassuring from the EU point of view, as the largest group of people still support the EU, the majority of the public can be classified as EU sceptic, of either the unified or ambivalent variety. Moreover, one fifth of the EU population, at least across the countries under investigation here in 2014, can be classified as exit sceptic. This is a substantial portion of the population. These people hold clear-cut anti-EU attitudes and, as Chapters 6 and 7 will demonstrate, support hard Eurosceptic parties; they would vote leave if an EU membership referendum were held today. What about the share of loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in individual member states? Figure 4.4 provides the same information as Figure 4.3, but now broken down for individual member states. The figures show that substantial cross-country variation exists in the extent to which people can be classified as loyal supporters, and policy, regime, or exit sceptics. That said, two distinct patterns seem to emerge: countries either have a dominant share of loyal supporters, or a clear majority of sceptics. The countries that are characterized by a large share of loyal supporters are Belgium, Czech 82

A Divided Public? Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Great Britain

Hungary

Ireland

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

0.6 0.4 0.2

0.6

Percentage

0.4 0.2

0.6 0.4 0.2

0.6 0.4 0.2 Loyal support

Policy scepticism

Regime scepticism

Exit scepticism

Figure 4.4. Types of support and scepticism across countries in 2014 Note: Figure entries present the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in countries listed in 2014. Source: European Social Survey 2014.

Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Interestingly, in these countries the share of exit sceptics is also very low. The countries with a clear majority of sceptics are Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Policy, regime, and exit scepticism are quite evenly distributed in these countries. The exceptions are Great Britain and Sweden where we find that a majority of the population in 2014 can be classified as exit sceptics, 37 and 42 per cent respectively.

4.2 Country Level Variation The distinction between the four different types helps us to understand patterns in both cross-national and within-country variation in public 83

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

opinion towards the EU. I will first discuss variation at the country level. Based on the benchmark theory, I expect the four types of support and scepticism to vary based on the viability of an exit option. What does this mean? When national conditions are favourable because economic performance is high for example, or at least when it is perceived as such, scepticism, especially of the exit variety, is more likely to develop compared to when performance is bad. Only when national conditions are good can a country realistically make it outside the EU. In this case a viable exit option exists. Unfavourable national conditions foster loyal support. In these contexts an exit option to EU membership is not feasible. Based on existing work on the importance of national conditions for EU support (Sánchez-Cuenca 2000; Rohrschneider 2002), two factors are considered to be especially crucial in shaping the viability of an exit option: economic performance and quality of government. Research on economic voting suggests that economic performance is one of the most important signals that citizens use to judge the competence of governments (Lewis-Beck 1988; Duch and Stevenson 2006, 2008). Indeed, the literature on economic voting suggests that people care deeply about the state of the economy, and that economic performance is a key factor in understanding why incumbents are voted out of office (for an overview see Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier 2007). The state of the economy is an important way for people to assess the competence of their national government, and thus get a sense about the extent to which their country outside the EU constitutes a viable alternative to membership. When economic conditions are good, people are more likely to believe that their country will be able to survive outside the EU, or perhaps even thrive outside it. This is because people are more likely to think that their national economy will be able to weather an initial period of the uncertainty associated with exiting the EU. Even exit sceptics are likely to expect some economic turmoil in the short run; at the same time, however, they may perceive exit to be more beneficial in the long run. Good economic conditions are thus conducive to exit scepticism. Policy scepticism is also likely to increase with favourable economic conditions. Even though policy sceptics might view the way rules and procedures operate at the EU level as better than, or at least equally as good as those at the national level, they are more satisfied with the policies and public goods provision at the national level. Given that economic performance is one of the most important signals about the competence of national governments, it is more likely that higher shares of policy sceptics will be found in countries which are doing well economically. Countries with poorer economic conditions are likely to perceive that the EU provides opportunities. Access to the Single Market creates benefits both in terms of growth prospects and labour mobility. Moreover, when economic conditions are unfavourable, people 84

A Divided Public? Bad economic conditions

Good economic conditions

Percentage

60

40

20

0 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 4.5. Distribution of types by economic conditions in 2014 Notes: The figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in different economic contexts. The differences in shares between contexts are statistically significantly different at a p  .05 level. Source: European Social Survey 2014.

may not want to risk trying their country’s luck outside the EU. When a country is not doing well, how would it be able to bear the costs associated with leaving the EU? While exit and policy scepticism are likely to be high when economic conditions are favourable, loyal support will be more pronounced in unfavourable economic contexts. Figure 4.5 displays the distribution of loyal support, and policy, regime, and exit scepticism in two sets of countries in 2014. It pits support and scepticism in countries with bad economic conditions against those with good conditions. I operationalize good and bad economic conditions based on countries’ unemployment levels, arguably the most straightforward way for people to infer the state of the economy (Conover et al. 1986). The unemployment levels are taken from Eurostat (2017). Good economic conditions are operationalized as countries with unemployment lower than the EU average, while bad economic conditions are countries with higher than average EU unemployment levels. The difference in the distribution of support and scepticism in these two sets of countries is striking and statistically significantly different. While the majority of people residing in countries that perform relatively badly in terms of unemployment are loyal supporters, over 60 per cent, the share of loyal 85

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

supporters is almost half, at 37 per cent, in countries with relatively good economic conditions. In the latter set of countries, the share of exit sceptics is almost three times higher compared to countries whose economic performance is worse: 22 versus 8 per cent. The shares of policy and regime sceptics are also higher, by three and six percentage points respectively. These results are in line with the notion that the more viable an exit option is, the higher scepticism will be. This is especially the case for exit scepticism; the effects for policy scepticism are slightly more modest than would have been expected. I also find that when an exit from the EU is less viable, because economic conditions are less favourable, loyal support is high. Overall, the majority of people residing in countries with bad economic conditions can be classified as EU supporters, while the majority in countries with good economic conditions are EU sceptics. I suggested that scepticism, especially of the exit variety, should increase with the viability of an exit option. It is not only favourable economic conditions that shape the viability of an exit option to EU membership, but also the quality of government. As I suggested in Chapter 2, people might not only care about current and past policies and public good provision, but also about which goods and policies will be provided in the future. The quality of government crucially affects the ability of political elites to craft effective policies and provide public goods (Rothstein 2011). Although the precise costs of corruption are hard to quantify and will vary greatly from country to country, research suggests that corruption is bad for economic and social development (Fisman and Golden 2017). It undermines not only the ability of governments to craft and implement policies in areas in which continued intervention and investment is needed, but also to respond quickly and effectively to sudden challenges (Bardhan and Mookherjee 2006). Corruption has been shown to have a detrimental effect on tax revenues (Liu and Feng 2015), investment and economic growth (Mauro 1995; Del Monte and Papagni 2001), and equality and poverty (Chong and Calderon 2000; Gupta et al. 2002; Jong-Sung and Khagram 2005; Uslaner 2008). Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca (2000) has forcefully argued that the presence of political corruption increases support for the EU. When corruption is widespread, so the argument goes, people are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way in which their political system operates, and thus more willing to transfer sovereignty to the EU level. I build on these insights to suggest that scepticism, especially of the exit and regime variety, will be higher in contexts where the quality of government is high. In these contexts, people are likely to look at the EU regime less favourably as it is generally perceived as less accountable, responsive, and transparent (see for example Føllesdal and Hix 2006; Hix 2008; Hobolt and Tilley 2014). In contexts where quality of government is low, for example because corruption is widespread, the EU regime is likely 86

A Divided Public? Low quality of government

High quality of government

60

Percentage

40

20

0 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 4.6. Distribution of types by quality of government in 2014 Notes: The figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in different quality of government contexts. The differences in shares between contexts are statistically significantly different at a p  .05 level. Source: European Social Survey 2014.

to be perceived as preferable to the way in which the regime operates at home. Against this backdrop, I expect exit and regime scepticism to be most pronounced in contexts where there is a high quality of government, while loyal support should be high in countries characterized by a low quality of government. Figure 4.6 shows the distribution of loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in 2014 across two sets of countries, those characterized by a high versus a low quality of government. I tap into quality of government by using the country scores in the Gothenburg Quality of Government (QoG) dataset (Quality of Governance Institute of the University of Gothenburg 2016). Low quality countries are those with quality of government scores below the EU average, while high quality countries are those with scores above the EU average. Based on the notion of the viability of an exit option, I expect loyal support to be more pronounced in low quality of government countries, while exit and regime scepticism should be more extensive in high quality of government countries. This is indeed what Figure 4.6 shows. Exit scepticism is—at 24 per cent—three times higher in high quality of government contexts compared to low quality ones at 7 per cent. Moreover, regime scepticism is seven percentage points higher in high quality contexts: 25 87

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

per cent versus 18 per cent. I find little difference based on policy scepticism. Loyal support is much more pronounced in low quality of government contexts, 58 per cent in low quality contexts versus 35 per cent in high quality contexts. Overall, the majority of people in countries characterized by a low quality of government are loyal supporters, while in countries with a high quality of government a majority is sceptical, mostly of the regime and exit variety. How has the Eurozone crisis affected the distribution of types across countries? The global financial crisis that erupted in September 2008 quickly travelled from the United States of America to the European continent, and evolved into a sovereign debt crisis. The economic and social consequences of the crisis within the EU have been far-reaching. At the time of the 2014 European Parliament elections for example, unemployment rates had reached a post-war high (Peet and La Guardia 2014). The situation was worst in Spain and Greece, where more than 25 per cent of the workforce was excluded from the labour market (Eurostat 2014). In fifteen EU member states the unemployment rate was higher than 10 per cent, with youth unemployment being a particularly serious problem in Southern Europe. Not only did the Eurozone crisis have significant effects, it also unmasked deep structural imbalances in the EU (Stiglitz 2016). It not only demonstrated enormous differences in economic conditions, but also in quality of government. Indeed, many governments in the bailout-battered South, for example, faced accusations of large-scale political corruption. The situation in Greece is a case in point in this respect. In the wake of the crisis, it became clear that public officials had fabricated statistics on a large scale (Peet and La Guardia 2014). As the crisis unfolded, people’s EU and national benchmarks began to change. Citizens became more and more aware of how well their national system would be able to weather the crisis, or if outside help from the EU or other international organizations would be needed. It is really difficult to identify a precise crisis effect, but what I wish to show here is that existing differences in public opinion hardened and became more pronounced during the crisis. In order to explore this, I will compare public opinion just before the crisis to levels in 2014. Figure 4.7 displays changes in the share of exit, regime, and policy sceptics as well as loyal supporters between 2008 and 2014. The ESS 2008 was conducted before the Eurozone crisis broke, and by 2014 the differential effect of the crisis between different member states had become quite clear. Overall, Figure 4.7 shows that across that time period, there has been an increase in exit and regime scepticism, but a decrease in loyal support. The share of policy sceptics remains more or less stable. These changes appear quite modest, but that is most likely because they mask important cross-national variation

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A Divided Public?

Difference 2008–2014

10

5

0

–5

–10 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 4.7. Change in types 2008–2014 Notes: The figure entries represent the change in the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics before and after the Eurozone crisis. With the exception of policy sceptics, these differences are statistically significantly different at a p  .05 level. Sources: European Social Survey 2008 and 2014.

that cancels out when the data is aggregated. Figure 4.8 suggests that this is indeed the case. Figure 4.8 plots the changes in the shares of exit, regime, and policy sceptics as well as loyal supporters between 2008 and 2014 across member states. Interestingly, and perhaps worryingly from an EU point of view, many countries have witnessed an increase in exit scepticism. This is, for example, the case in Germany, Estonia, France, Finland, Poland, and Portugal. Yet, in other countries, like the Czech Republic, Ireland, or Hungary, for example, we see a slight increase in loyal support. Finally, in countries like Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden, we find a substantial increase in mixed types, namely regime and policy scepticism. In these countries, in the post-crisis period ambivalence about the EU seems to have increased. In a next step, I examine the changes in public opinion based on national economic and political conditions. Scepticism should have become more pronounced in countries that can be seen to constitute viable exit options to EU membership. Figure 4.9 presents an overview of the changes in the share of loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics between 2008 and 2014 in countries where people have a viable exit option because economic conditions and quality of government are good, versus countries where economic

89

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Slovenia

Sweden

Portugal

Poland

Netherlands

Ireland

Hungary

Great Britain

France

Finland

Spain

Estonia

Denmark

Germany

Czech Republic

Belgium

Policy scepticism

Regime scepticism

0.1 0.0 –0.1 –0.2

Difference 2008–2014

0.1 0.0 –0.1 –0.2

0.1 0.0 –0.1 –0.2

0.1 0.0 –0.1 –0.2 Loyal support

Exit scepticism

Figure 4.8. Change in types 2008–2014 across countries Notes: The figure entries represent changes in the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics before and after the Eurozone crisis in countries listed. Sources: European Social Survey 2008 and 2014.

and government conditions are bad so no viable option to membership exists. While changes in support and scepticism in the crisis period have been rather limited in countries where conditions are relatively bad, they were quite pronounced in countries where conditions are relatively good. In the latter set of countries, loyal support decreased while exit scepticism increased substantially. Figure 4.10 provides similar information, but now presented graphically. Specifically, it pits the EU regime differential against the EU policy differential, and plots a country as a coordinate on both dimensions. It provides information about the average attitude characteristics of public opinion before the crisis, in 2008, and after, in 2014. The countries highlighted in black are characterized by good economic conditions and a high quality of government, 90

A Divided Public? No viable exit option

Viable exit option

Difference 2008–2014

10

5

0

–5

–10 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 4.9. Change in types by national conditions 2008–2014 Notes: The figure entries present the change in the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics before and after the Eurozone crisis between different national contexts. These differences are statistically significantly different at a p ≤ .05 level. Sources: European Social Survey 2008 and 2014.

while those highlighted in grey have comparably worse levels for economic and quality of government conditions. Interestingly, a comparison of national publics in 2008 and 2014 shows that the difference between countries has become more pronounced during the crisis period. In 2008 we find countries with good or bad economic and quality of government conditions in identical positions, and they all lie mostly across the loyal support and regime sceptic quadrants. By 2014, however, an image of two distinct groups of member states seems to have emerged. While all the countries without a viable exit option now flock together in the loyal support category—with the exception of France (on the border between the loyal support and regime scepticism quadrants) and the Czech Republic (in the policy scepticism quadrant)—all the countries with a viable exit option fall into the scepticism categories. Many countries characterized by a high quality of government and economic performance fall into the exit scepticism quadrant, with the exceptions of Denmark, Germany, and Finland which fit the regime scepticism type. Just like the economic and political fallout, the effect of the crisis on public opinion within the EU seems to have been asymmetric. The degree of loyal support remains stable in countries worst hit by the crisis in the Southern and Central Eastern European member states characterized by 91

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 2008 3 2 EU regime differential

Poland Estonia Ireland

1

Luxembourg

Czech Republic Slovenia Portugal France Belgium

0

Spain

–1

Germany Netherlands Great Britain

Finland

Sweden Denmark

–2 –3 –3

–2

–1

1 0 EU policy differential

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3

2014 3

EU regime differential

2 Hungary

1

Poland Slovenia

Ireland Czech Republic

0

Portugal Belgium Estonia

Spain

France

Netherlands Germany Great Britain Finland Denmark

–1

Sweden

–2 –3 –3

–2

–1

1 0 EU policy differential

No viable exit option

2

3

Viable exit option

Figure 4.10. Types in 2008 and 2014 Note: The figure entries represent the average EU regime and policy differential of a country sample in 2008 and 2014 respectively. Sources: European Social Survey 2008 and 2014.

relatively worse economic and quality of government conditions, while it significantly decreased in the Northern and Western region of the EU. This again illustrates the importance of benchmarks for understanding the contours of EU public opinion. 92

A Divided Public?

4.3 Individual Level Variation The viability of an exit option is not only important in explaining crossnational variation in support and scepticism based on objective conditions as I have explored so far. It is also likely to vary within countries based on people’s subjective evaluations of how well their country is doing economically and in terms of quality of government. I will now examine the notion that the viability of an exit option matters at the individual level. I expect people who hold more favourable evaluations of the economic and quality of government conditions in their country most likely to be sceptics, especially of the exit variety. At the same time, I expect those who perceive their country to not be doing well economically and politically to be most likely loyal supporters. I test these expectations using the ESS 2014 data. This dataset not only allows people to be classified as loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics, but also to capture the economic and quality of government evaluations of the same people. The survey includes a question asking people how satisfied they are with the state of the economy in their country which ranges from (0) ‘not satisfied at all’ to (10) ‘fully satisfied’. In addition, it includes a question tapping into people’s evaluations of the quality of government in their country asking respondents’ views about whether the political system in their country allows people to have a say in what the government does. Answers range from (0) ‘not at all’ to (10) ‘completely’. I examine the effect of both economic and political system satisfaction on the probability of being an exit, regime, or policy sceptic or loyal supporter using a logistic regression. I expect the effects of economic and political system satisfaction on exit scepticism to be positive, negative for loyal support, and mixed for regime and policy scepticism. To account for alternative explanations of support based on a utilitarian and identity logic, I add skill level and educational background variables as well as items tapping into feelings of national identity and anti-immigrant sentiment (for an overview see Hobolt and De Vries 2016a). Finally, I include country dummies as well as socio-demographic controls such as income, age, and gender to the analysis to account for contextual and individual level heterogeneity. Figure 4.11 shows the changes in predicted probabilities of being an exit, regime, or policy sceptic as well as a loyal supporter based on a maximum change in the independent variable. The analysis is based on logistic regression analysis where the dependent variable is belonging to one type versus all others. The dots represent the changes in predicted probabilities and the lines indicate the 95 per cent confidence intervals (due to an overall large sample size these intervals are very small, so not easy to spot). The black solid line at the zero point on the x-axis indicates that the probability that a change is predicted is zero; dots on the right-hand side of the line signify positive effects, and those on the left negative effects. An example will illustrate how to read 93

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Exit scepticism

Loyal support Benchmark logic Economic satisfaction Political system satisfaction

Identity logic National identity Anti-immigrant

Identity logic National identity Anti-immigrant

Utilitarian logic Farmer High skilled Professional Low skilled High education

Utilitarian logic Farmer High skilled Professional Low skilled High education –0 . –0 4 . –0 3 . –0 2 .1 0 0. 1 0. 2 0. 3 0. 4

–0 . –0 4 . –0 3 . –0 2 .1 0 0. 1 0. 2 0. 3 0. 4

Benchmark logic Economic satisfaction Political system satisfaction

Regime scepticism

Identity logic National identity Anti-immigrant

Utilitarian logic Farmer High skilled Professional Low skilled High education

Utilitarian logic Farmer High skilled Professional Low skilled High education –0

Identity logic National identity Anti-immigrant

–0 . –0 4 . –0 3 . –0 2 .1 0 0. 1 0. 2 0. 3 0. 4

Benchmark logic Economic satisfaction Political system satisfaction

.4 –0 . –0 3 .2 –0 .1 0 0. 1 0. 2 0. 3 0. 4

Policy scepticism Benchmark logic Economic satisfaction Political system satisfaction

Figure 4.11. The effect of economic and political system satisfaction on support and scepticism Notes: The dots represent the changes in predicted probabilities based on varying the independent variables from their minimum to maximum levels and the lines represent the 95 per cent confidence intervals (which are very small due to an overall large sample size, so not easy to make out). Source: European Social Survey 2014.

these figures. Take, for example, economic satisfaction: when it is moved from its minimum, 0 not satisfied at all, to its maximum level, 10 fully satisfied, exit scepticism increases by 33 per cent, while loyal support decreases by roughly 20 per cent. These results are in line with the notion of the viability of an exit option. The effects of economic satisfaction for regime and policy scepticism are more mixed. While increased satisfaction with the economy increases policy scepticism, it decreases regime scepticism. This may not be entirely surprising given that I would expect people who are more satisfied with national policy making to display a higher likelihood of being policy sceptic. This is not the case for regime sceptics. While satisfaction with the political system only slightly increases regime scepticism and slightly decreases policy scepticism, the effects on exit scepticism and loyal support are more substantial. Exit scepticism increases by 8 per cent, while loyal support decreases by almost 5 per cent as satisfaction 94

A Divided Public?

with the national political system increases from its minimum to its maximum level. The fact that the effects of evaluations of the quality of government are smaller compared to economic evaluations may not be entirely surprising, given that studies have suggested that people are more likely to care about outcomes than procedures (Rohrschneider 2002). When it comes to expectations about a viable alternative, I find that stronger national identity sentiment and anti-immigrant sentiment increases the likelihood of being a regime or exit sceptic (although the effect for anti-immigrant sentiment is much more pronounced), while the reverse pattern holds for loyal supporters and policy sceptics. I find less support for a skills-based explanation of support and scepticism with the exception of education (see Hakhverdian et al. 2013 for the importance of education for Eurosceptic attitudes). I find that regime scepticism increases with education, while exit scepticism decreases. Overall, I find support for the idea that scepticism increases when national conditions, operationalized in terms of economic performance and quality of government, are more favourable. I also find a micro-foundation for this aggregate finding. People who are more satisfied with the state of the national economy or the way in which their national system works, display a higher likelihood of being EU sceptic. The results are most pronounced for exit sceptics and loyal supporters, albeit in different directions. While exit scepticism increases with economic and political system satisfaction, loyal support decreases. The results for regime and policy scepticism are more mixed. Economic satisfaction increases policy scepticism, while political system satisfaction slightly decreases it. Regime sceptics are characterized by higher political system satisfaction and lower economic satisfaction. These more diverse effects are not entirely surprising given that regime and policy scepticism constitute ambivalent types of support and scepticism. Ambivalent attitudes have been shown overall to be less predictable (Alvarez and Brehm 2002).

4.4 The Importance of Proximate Responsibility Attribution In this last step, I delve deeper into the mechanism that can account for the fact that scepticism is most pronounced in member states with better economic conditions and quality of government, while support is higher when economic conditions and quality of government are worse. This finding does not bode well for the utilitarian explanation of public opinion towards the EU. When it comes to economic conditions, authors within the utilitarian tradition have argued that strong economic performance bolsters EU support (Eichenberg and Dalton 1993). The authors argue that people evaluate the EU based on the degree to which it benefits their economy. They suggest that as macro-economic variables improve, EU support increases. Yet, the patterns of 95

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support and scepticism over the last decades or so, and evidence I have presented so far seem at odds with this expectation. I argue that this is because the utilitarian explanations hinge on the assumption that people attribute economic success to the EU, and I suggest that they might not. Why would people not attribute the success or failure of their national economy or quality of government to the fact that their country is a member of the EU? Arguably, the Single Market has facilitated an expansion of intra-EU trade and the EU has been influential in terms of democratic reforms both within its own institutions and accession countries (Vachudova 2005; Hix and Høyland 2011). Two mechanisms may account for the fact that scepticism is higher in member states with more favourable economic conditions and quality of government: people’s expectations of government, and responsibility attribution for policy. Each of these mechanisms will now be discussed in turn. First, the fact that scepticism increases when national conditions are good might be the result of people’s expectations of government. People residing in environments characterized by strong economic and political performance might have higher expectations of government. Their national political system is seen to function well and to yield good outcomes. Given the complexity associated with policy making across borders in the context of the EU, where many different stakeholders are involved, preferences are likely to be heterogeneous and policy making is further removed from citizens (Moravcsik 1998). As a result, these high expectations might not be easily met. Contrary to national systems of government that may not be perfect, but have become generally accepted over a long period of time, supranational institutions and policy making do not fit the national democratic traditions found in many member states. The instinctive reaction may perhaps be to reject the unfamiliar political beast or to feel uneasy about it. High expectations of government could provide a fruitful breeding ground for the development of scepticism. This idea is related to work by Robert Rohrschneider (2002) who argues that citizens residing in contexts where the economy and national democratic institutions are working well will display much lower levels of EU regime support, because they perceive politics at the European level to be democratically deficient. Moreover, work by Pippa Norris (2011) suggests that expectations of democratic governance increase as democracies become more consolidated. She argues that this is largely the result of the socialization process in a democratic nation. Considering that poor economic performance and quality of government widely overlaps with being a new democracy, a difference in expectations of democratic government can account for the patterns of support and scepticism. I test this expectation by relying on data from the 2012 round of the ESS. This survey included a battery of different questions asking which elements are important for a democratic system of government focusing on freedom of expression and government 96

A Divided Public?

responsiveness (for more information see Ferrín and Kriesi 2016). I create an additive scale of people’s responses to seven different statements that capture their expectations of government in democracies. These items are: 1. Different political parties should offer clear alternatives to one another. 2. Courts should treat everyone the same. 3. Governing parties should be punished in elections when they have done a bad job. 4. A government should explain its decisions to voters. 5. The media should be free to criticize the government. 6. The media should provide citizens with reliable information to judge the government. 7. The rights of minorities should be protected. Respondents can decide if they view each of these items as (0) not important for democracy to (10) important for democracy. I add these responses together to create an expectations of democratic government scale that ranges from (0) none of the items are important for democracy to (70) all of the seven items are important for democracy. Figure 4.12 displays the level of expectations of democratic government in countries with favourable economic conditions and quality of government where citizens have a viable exit option against those countries with less favourable conditions, where the exit option is not as viable. Although the overall level of expectations is slightly higher in countries that do well, they are also really high in countries that perform worse in economic and political terms. The level is close to 60 points on a 0–70-point scale for people residing in countries with both good or bad economic and political conditions. Although people in these contexts realize that their system of government works imperfectly, studies show that they are significantly less satisfied with the way democracy works in their country compared to people living in countries that do well (Kriesi et al. 2016), they do have almost equally high expectations of democratic governance. Expectations of democratic government do not seem systematically to vary across countries based on economic and political conditions. Hence, expectations of democratic government are unlikely to account for the patterns in support and scepticism that this chapter documents. Could the higher degree of scepticism or support be due to the fact that people may not attribute the success or failure of their national economy or quality of government to actions of the EU, but rather to their national government? Given the complex web of policy attribution in the EU and the lack of a clear executive (Hobolt and Tilley 2014), good economic conditions are most likely to be attributed to the activities of national elites. 97

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Expectations of democratic government

60

40

20

0

Figure 4.12. Expectations of democracy by national conditions Note: The differences in expectations of democratic government between those residing in countries with bad versus good conditions are not statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Social Survey 2012.

National governments will likely claim credit for favourable economic conditions in an attempt to foster or expand their electoral support base (Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier 2007). The role that Single Market access has played here is arguably much less tangible for people. Indeed, studies show that people attribute credit and blame to more proximate forces (Feldman 1982; Gomez and Wilson 2008). If this is indeed the case, the results should show that regardless of national conditions, responsibility for policy should be attributed more to the national government than the EU. Can we indeed attribute higher scepticism in more favourable economic and political conditions to the fact that people are more likely to hold their national government responsible for these circumstances than the EU? An inspection of the 2014 EES survey data allows some light to be shed on this question. The EES is a post-election survey conducted in the context of the 2014 election to the European Parliament. This survey includes a set of identical questions asking people if their national government or the EU is responsible for the economy. Answers to both questions range from (0) not responsible to (10) fully responsible. Figure 4.13 shows the extent to which people hold their national government and the EU responsible for the economy across countries where national conditions are favourable versus countries 98

A Divided Public? Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Responsibility for economy

8

6

4

2

0 Government responsible

EU responsible

Figure 4.13. Responsibility judgements by national conditions Notes: The differences in responsibility attribution for the economy between the national government and EU are statistically significant at a p  .05 level, but no statistically significant differences exist between those residing in bad and good national conditions. Source: European Election Study 2014.

where they are not. Figure 4.13 shows that people view their national government as more responsible for the economy than the EU. This provides some initial evidence that could account for the fact that scepticism is higher in contexts with good economic and political conditions, and vice versa. In a next step, I explore this further by examining if people who were adversely affected by the recent economic crisis are more likely to attribute responsibility for this to their own government. I again rely on the EES 2014. This dataset allows me to examine whether people who were adversely affected by the Eurozone crisis—in that they experienced a significant loss of income, lost their job, or both—attribute the loss they experienced to the economic actions of their national government or the EU. Table 4.1 provides an overview of the extent to which people who were adversely affected by the crisis hold their national government or the EU more responsible for their predicament. It presents results using three outcome variables: (a) the degree to which people attribute responsibility to the national government, ranging from (0) ‘no responsibility’ to (10) ‘full responsibility’, (b) the degree to which they hold the EU responsible, also ranging from (0) ‘no responsibility’ to (10) ‘full responsibility’, and (c) an EU responsibility differential variable. The EU responsibility differential is negative when people view the national 99

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 4.1. Testing the proximate responsibility attribution assumption (1) National responsibility

Adversely affected by crisis Balance Age Working class Unemployed Professional Female Education Political sophistication N

0.184* (0.036) Raw Mean 51 0.11 0.08 0.07 0.54 2.22 2.14 30,064

(2) EU responsibility

(3) EU responsibility differential

0.120* (0.034) Matched Mean 53 0.10 0.11 0.08 0.52 2.23 2.28

–0.064* (0.038)

6,205

Notes: Table entries are regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses based on a nearly-neighbour matching procedure as well as balance statistics. * Significant at a p  0 .05 level (two-tailed). Source: European Election Study 2014.

government as more responsible than the EU, and positive when they attribute more responsibility to the EU. It moves from (–10) the government is fully responsible to (+10) the EU is fully responsible. In line with the notion of proximate responsibility attribution, I expect people who were adversely affected by the crisis to hold both the national government and EU responsible, but the national government more. Hence, I expect positive effects for the national and EU responsibility outcomes, but a negative effect for the EU responsibility differential. In order to isolate the effect of being adversely affected by the crisis on people’s responsibility attribution, I rely on a matching approach.1 Due to the fact that people in more economically vulnerable positions are more likely to be affected by the crisis, I need to account for this possible selection effect. Matching allows me to compare those who have been adversely affected by the crisis versus those who were not by taking into account respondents’ overall levels of their economic vulnerability (i.e. a combination of education, political sophistication, gender, age, employment status, type of employment, and social class). This allows me to compare these groups in a more experimental-like setting,

1 Table 4.1 presents results using a nearest-neighbour matching technique in order to isolate the effect of being adversely affected by the crisis by matching respondents on a whole set of demographic variables. It also presents the balance of the raw and matched data. Nearestneighbour matching (NN matching) selects for each treated individual the control individual with the smallest distance from the treated individual. NN matching is an optimization method for finding the closest (or most similar) individuals. Closeness is expressed in terms of a dissimilarity function: the less similar the individuals, the larger the function values (Rubin 1973). Using NN matching we are able to estimate the effect of being adversely affected by the crisis by accounting for the covariates that predict being affected (like employment status, level of education, age, etc.).

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where similar people are compared in terms of the degree of adversity they have experienced during the crisis. Table 4.1 shows that people who were adversely affected by the crisis are more likely to hold their national government and the EU responsible for the economy, but the negative and statistically significant effect on the EU responsibility differential indicates that they hold their national government more responsible. This suggests that people who were adversely affected by the crisis are more likely to attribute this to the actions of their government. This is not to say that they do not blame the EU for the crisis; they do, as the results in Model 2 suggest, but they blame the national government more. They hold their national government to be more responsible for the adverse effects of the crisis than the EU.

4.5 Summary This chapter introduces a novel typology of public support and scepticism towards the EU. Based on people’s EU regime and policy differentials, I distinguish between loyal supporters, who favour the EU over their nation state based on both policies and the regime; exit sceptics, who favour their nation state over the EU in terms of both policies and the regime; and policy and regime sceptics, who favour their nation state over the EU either in terms of policies or the regime respectively. Exit sceptics can be viewed as unified Eurosceptics who oppose EU membership as a whole, while policy and regime sceptics are more ambivalent Eurosceptics who dislike certain aspects, but do not reject the EU altogether. These types are distributed across and within member states in predictable ways. When economic performance and the quality of government is high, or when people perceive it to be high, scepticism is likely to be quite pronounced, especially of the exit variety. When national conditions are relatively bad, because unemployment is above the EU average and the quality of government below it, loyal support is highest. This is because people engage in a process of proximate responsibility attribution, in that they hold their national governments primarily responsible for economic and political performance rather than the EU. The results presented in this chapter fit nicely with the previous work of Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca (2000) on the political basis of support, but are diametrically opposed to a proxy mechanism developed by Christopher Anderson (1998). Anderson expects people who hold favourable national evaluations to be more supportive of the EU. He developed and tested his argument in a time where people were, on average, not very well informed about the EU and may indeed have substituted their European evaluations for national ones. Yet, in recent decades the permissive consensus has given way 101

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to a more responsive public, thus changing the basis of support and scepticism. Moreover, the results presented in this chapter also partially conflict with Robert Rohrschneider and Matthew Loveless’ (2010) study that suggests that economic performance primarily matters for EU public opinion in poor contexts, while political performance matters only in richer member states. While this may have been in the case in the past, the findings presented here suggest that the Eurozone crisis has made economic performance important in both richer and more impoverished regions of the Union while at the same time making problems with the quality of government and corruption more salient.

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5 Common People? Who Are Supporters and Sceptics and What Do They Want?

Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. Theresa May, 5 October 2016, Birmingham

Following the outcome of the Brexit vote in Great Britain, journalists, politicians, and pundits have done a lot of soul searching about people’s reasons to vote out. Despite a long tradition of British reluctance towards membership of the European bloc, most analysts or pollsters had predicted a win for the Remain camp. So, who were the people that were wary of the European project, and would rather see their country secede the Union? One of the dominant narratives that has emerged, is that the vote constituted a revolt of those left behind by globalization. Processes of economic internationalization and political integration in Europe and beyond have led to a resistance amongst the most vulnerable demanding a fair distribution of wealth and jobs and for their government to take back control of borders, and pitted them against cosmopolitans (see Kriesi et al. 2008; Kriesi 2016). Matthew Goodwin and Oliver Heath (2016) for example show that support for Brexit was strong in areas with low skilled and less well-educated blue-collar workers, where people felt they were pushed to the margins by international and national economic developments over the past decades. A study by Sara Hobolt (2016) also suggests that the divide between the winners and losers of globalization was a key driver of the vote. Brexit support was primarily the prerogative of lower educated, poorer and older voters. These interpretations show at least some affinity with the utilitarian explanation of support for European integration. The argument proposed by Matthew

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Gabel (1998) and others is that the removal of barriers to trade allows firms to shift production across borders and increases job insecurity for low skilled workers whereas high skilled workers and those with capital can take advantage of the opportunities resulting from a liberalized European market. As a result, high skilled workers should be more supportive of integration, and low skilled workers less so (Anderson and Reichert 1995; Gabel and Palmer 1995; Gabel 1998; Tucker et al. 2002). Undoubtedly, the left-behind thesis seems an appealing heuristic for understanding the roots of Euroscepticism. The geography of the British vote points at a general divide between the younger, unattached professionals of London who favoured European membership, while less well-off families living outside of major cities eyed the continent with considerably more suspicion (Becker et al. 2017; Clarke et al. 2017). Yet, there also reasons to suspect that economic deprivation alone might not be the entire story. A closer inspection of the data shows significant deviations from this general pattern. Very rich areas in the South of Britain voted out, while poorer regions in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. While economic concerns are surely important, they may not be the entire story. Moreover, the economic deprivation argument might be especially appealing in the British case, more so than in other countries. Stephanie Rickard (2012), for example, shows that government spending of various sorts can compensate for the diverse economic impact of economic openness. She points out that British investments to compensate for economic losses have been rather limited, and that this lack of compensation might have played a crucial role in explaining the outcome of the vote (Rickard 2016). This chapter examines the profile and preferences of Eurosceptics beyond the Brexit vote. It will paint a picture that is more nuanced than the view suggested by the left-behind thesis and findings that have emerged in the UK context. In the ensuing sections, I show that in terms of demographic profile, it is not so much the socio-economic status or financial anxiety that separates supporters from sceptics, but rather it is age, gender, and education that matter. Sceptics, especially of the exit variety, tend to be older, male, and slightly less educated. Interestingly, I demonstrate that sceptics are relatively well-off in the sense that they have comparatively fewer financial worries. Moreover, they are less likely to be unemployed and overall place themselves on the higher end of the social ladder. Of course, these are averages and differences within groups are likely going to exist, but the profile of the archetype EU sceptic is not necessarily one of economic deprivation. Finally, the findings show that the issue positions of exit, regime, policy sceptics, and loyal supporters do not vary greatly depending on how favourable national conditions are, yet issue priorities do. The better national conditions are, and thus the more viable is the exit option for membership, the more sceptics view immigration as the most important issue, more so than 104

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unemployment. When national conditions are less favourable, however, unemployment trumps immigration as the biggest priority, even among exit sceptics. These findings provide important insights into how benchmarks shape people’s political preferences and their expectations about the European project. People residing in countries where economic and political conditions are not favourable prioritize unemployment over any other issues; this is true even of exit sceptics. These patterns of issue priorities establish a predicament for EU and national elites who aim to respond to growing EU scepticism. Improving economic growth and creating jobs are ways in which EU policy makers could deal with sceptics in countries with high unemployment and quality of government. Yet, for sceptics who reside in countries with more favourable economic and political conditions, different policy priorities than unemployment come to the fore. Here exit sceptics care much more about immigration than unemployment, while the top priorities of regime and policy sceptics are immigration, unemployment, and crime levels. Crafting policy responses that satisfy all types of sceptics will be quite a challenge. This chapter is structured as follows. In a first step, it explores the demographical background of exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters. Next, it carves out the issue priorities of these different groups. In a third step, it examines the different issue positions of exit, regime, and policy sceptics, and loyal supporters. Finally, it concludes by outlining the difficulties that EU and national governmental elites may face when attempting to propose solutions that can deal with the divergent demands and priorities of sceptics and supporters.

5.1 The Demographic Profile of Supporters and Sceptics Who are the loyal supporters and exit, regime, and policy sceptics? Do sceptics and supporters differ in terms of their socio-economic background? On the basis of the left-behind thesis, we would expect that against the backdrop of the rise of the knowledge economy, the collapse of the manufacturing industry and increased labour mobility, the less secure strata in society should be most opposed to forms of economic and political cooperation across borders (Kriesi et al. 2008). This expectation is in line with the classical utilitarian model of EU support as developed by Matthew Gabel (1998). Opposition towards European integration should be most pronounced among those who are low skilled and cannot benefit from the economic opportunities the EU provides. I test these expectations by examining the shares of unemployed, financially insecure, and lower class respondents among the exit, regime, and policy sceptic and loyal support types, relying on data from the 2014 EES. I start with simple descriptive statistics and comparisons of means. In a second step, I present the results of a multivariate model. 105

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The different types of support and scepticism are based on a combination of people’s EU regime and policy differentials. Recall that in the EES, people’s EU regime differential is based on the difference between the trust score for EU institutions and the trust score for the national parliament, while the EU policy differential measure subtracts the evaluation of the policy direction in the EU from the evaluation of the policy direction in a respondent’s country. People who have both negative EU regime and policy differentials are classified as exit sceptics, while loyal supporters are those who hold both positive EU regime and policy differentials, or differentials at values of zero. The latter captures the fact that people display a status quo bias in favour of EU membership when national and European regime and policy evaluations are identical. Regime and policy sceptics are mixed types in that they hold negative EU regime and policy differentials combined with positive policy and regime differentials respectively. Figure 5.1 displays the share of respondents who are unemployed and identify with the working class among the four different types of support and scepticism. Interestingly, the figure shows that the share of unemployed citizens is the highest among the loyal supporters, at almost 8 per cent, and is about half the size of exit sceptics, at a figure of 3 per cent. The levels for policy and regime sceptics fall in between. Equally, the share of loyal supporters who identify as belonging to the working class is higher compared to Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

10 8 6

Percentage

4 2 0 10 8 6 4 2 0 Unemployed

Working class

Figure 5.1. Unemployment among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of the unemployed and working class among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. Source: European Election Study 2014.

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Common People? Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

80 60

Percentage

40 20 0 80 60 40 20 0 High financial worry

Low financial worry

Figure 5.2. Financial worry among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who state they have high or low levels of financial worry. Source: European Election Study 2014.

exit sceptics: 9 per cent of loyal supporters identify as working class, while only 5 per cent of exit sceptics do so. Roughly 7 per cent of policy and regime sceptics feel that they belong to the working class. Figure 5.2 displays the share of people who feel financially anxious versus those who do not. The 2014 EES study inclulded a question asking if people had difficulties paying their bills over the course of the last year. Those who responded ‘almost never’ or ‘never’ were coded as (0) ‘low financial worry’ while those who stated that they had difficulties ‘from time to time’ or ‘most of the time’ were coded as (1) ‘high financial worry’. The figure shows that the share of people who are more economically anxious and experience difficulties in making ends meet is highest among the loyal supporters and lowest among exit sceptics. A total of 38 per cent of loyal supporters often worry about their finances, while only 20 per cent of exit sceptics do. We find slightly higher levels of financial worry among regime and policy sceptics compared to exit sceptics: 29 and 26 per cent respectively state that they have financial worries. In a next step, we explore where loyal supporters, and exit, regime, and policy sceptics place themselves on a social ladder. I differentiate between three groups: those who place themselves in a low position (0–3 on an 11-point scale), those who place themselves in a middle position (4–6), and finally those who place themselves in a high position (7–10). Figure 5.3 shows 107

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

50 40 30

Percentage

20 10 0

50 40 30 20 10 0 Low position

Middle position

High position

Figure 5.3. Social positioning among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who place themselves on a low, middle, or high position on the social ladder. Source: European Election Study 2014.

the share of low, middle, and high position groups among the four different types. While overall a majority of people, regardless of type, place themselves in a middle position, a third of exit sceptics place themselves in a high position on a social ladder. Only roughly a quarter of loyal supporters do. The share of people who place themselves in a high position is slightly greater among policy and regime sceptics with over 30 per cent. Loyal supporters are more likely to place themselves in a low position on a social ladder; about 20 per cent do so. So far, the results show that the most avid Eurosceptics, exit sceptics, are not the most economically deprived citizens but are instead, relatively, economically well-off. It is also important to ask whether people’s skill levels coincide with specific types of support and scepticism. Recall that the utilitarian explanation of EU support stresses the importance of people’s skill levels for support for European integration. High skilled workers are more likely than low skilled workers to benefit from the economic opportunities provided by the lowering of trade barriers in Europe. An occupation question was used to examine the shares of skilled versus unskilled workers across the four different types of support. Unskilled manual, service, farm, or technical workers were grouped together in the unskilled category, while their skilled 108

Common People? Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

15 10

Percentage

5 0

15 10 5 0 Manual worker

Skilled worker

Professional worker

Farmer/Fisherman

Figure 5.4. Skill levels among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of unskilled, skilled, or professional workers and farmer/ fisherman among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. Source: European Election Study 2014.

counterparts are in the skilled category. The category of professionals includes high skilled professional workers, senior management, and large company owners. Matthew Gabel in his 1998 study of support for European integration shows that farmers and fishermen tend to be more supportive of the European project based on the agricultural subsidies that they receive. I have added a category for farmers and fishermen, but there are only a limited number of them in the dataset. Figure 5.4 show differences in the skill levels among exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters. The results suggest that there are overall very limited differences between the skill levels of these various types. The findings thus far suggest that scepticism, especially of the exit variety, does not coincide with higher levels of economic uncertainty, neither are sceptics particularly less skilled. Interestingly, loyal supporters are overall more likely to be worse off economically. What about other characteristics that might be associated with higher levels of economic deprivations, such as gender, age, and lower educational level? To consider these factors, I will start with the differences between men and women. Figure 5.5 shows the gender distribution across the four different types. It points to a gender gap in support and scepticism. While the majority of loyal supporters are female—57 per cent 109

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

60 40

Percentage

20 0

60 40 20 0 Male

Female

Figure 5.5. Gender gap among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of men and women among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. Source: European Election Study 2014.

of loyal supporters are female versus 43 per cent male—the majority of policy and exit sceptics are male. While respectively 53 and 52 per cent of policy and regime sceptics are male, 56 per cent of exit sceptics are male and 44 per cent are female. Interestingly, these findings differ from previous findings about gender which suggested that a slight gender gap in EU attitudes existed in late 1990s with women being, on average, less enthusiastic about the EU (Nelsen and Guth 2000). The reason the authors put forward for this finding was that women were more economically vulnerable and therefore unable to benefit from the Single Market. Yet, studies using more recent data have revised this picture and suggest that the gender gap has reversed (Sánchez Vítores 2015). The reasons for this reverse are manifold and defy easy summary, but changes in EU policy making may be important. Since the late 1990s, the European Commission has pushed for an active strategy of gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is a strategy towards realizing gender equality, and has included more generous maternity and paternity leave provisions in the Working Time Directive for example (European Commission 2016b). Hence,

110

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Policy

Regime

Exit

60 40

Percentage

20 0

60 40 20 0 Under 29

30–39

40– 49

50–59

Over 60

Figure 5.6. Age gap among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in specific age cohorts. Source: European Election Study 2014.

women, who on average find themselves in a more vulnerable economic position, may feel that they currently stand to benefit from the status quo of EU membership. Figure 5.6 shows the age distribution of loyal supporters and exit, regime, and policy sceptics. The most striking age difference is the higher share of older respondents, those over 60 years old, among regime and exit sceptics. While 40 per cent of the loyal supporters and policy sceptics are over 60 years old, 47 and 57 per cent of regime and exit sceptics are. While older respondents are more likely to be exit or regime sceptic, younger cohorts are more likely to be loyal supporters or policy sceptics. We find the highest shares of under 29-year-olds among loyal supporters and policy sceptics, over 10 per cent respectively. When young cohorts are sceptical of the EU, they are more likely to be policy or regime sceptics rather than exit sceptics. We find that only 5 per cent of the exit sceptics are under 25. These findings mimic those of studies on the Brexit vote. Turning our attention now to education, studies have suggested that support for European integration is most pronounced among the higher educated

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Share of high education

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 5.7. Education level among the four types Note: The figure entries represent the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics with a university education. Source: European Election Study 2014.

(Hooghe and Marks 2005; Lubbers and Jaspers 2011; Hakhverdian et al. 2013). Based on the utilitarian argument, the higher educated are more likely to prosper from the opportunities the Single Market provides. Moreover, based on the identity logic, they are less likely to feel exclusively attached to their nation state and to display anti-immigrant sentiment, and should therefore be more supportive of European integration. Figure 5.7 indicates that the share of people who are more highly educated, those who have received over 20 years of education, is indeed lower among exit sceptics compared to loyal supporters. The share of the highly educated among those respondents who hold mixed assessments of the EU falls in between. Do these differences in the socio-demographic profile of supporters and sceptics hold up in a multivariate model? Table 5.1 provides us with an insight. The table displays changes in the predicted probability of either being a loyal supporter, policy sceptic, regime sceptic, or exit sceptic based on a change of one particular socio-demographic characteristic whilst keeping all other characteristics at their average value. The analysis is based on a multinomial logistic regression model as the variable capturing the different types of support and scepticism includes multiple, mutually exclusive categories.1

1 The multinomial logistic regression model is based on the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) assumption. The Hausman test suggests that IIA holds: see Table A.3 in the Appendix.

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Common People? Table 5.1. Changes in predicted support and scepticism based on socio-demographic variables

Young–old cohort Male–female Low–high education Unemployed–employed Middle–working class Low–high financial concerns Low–high social postition Non-professional– professional worker Non-farmer–farmer

Loyal support

Policy scepticism

Regime scepticism

Exit scepticism

–6.2* (–9.0, –3.0) 5.3* (3.4, 7.5) 7.8* (0.5, 15.4) 3.3* (0.2, 6.9) 3.0 (–0.4, 6.0) 1.0* (0.8, 2.2) –1.9 (–5.0, –1.1) 0.5 (–2.6, 3.5) 0.9 (–6.0, 8.0)

–0.9 (–2.8, 1.0) –1.5* (–2.6, –0.3) –4.8* (–7.4, –1.9) –1.9 (–3.8, 0.0) –1.4 (–3.2, 0.4) 0.0 (–2.2, 2.1) 1.2 (–0.7, –3.0) 0.0 (–1.3, 1.3) –2.1 (–8.0, 2.0)

4.6* (1.9, 7.8) –2.7* (–4.3, –1.1) 4.5* (1.9, 7.2) 0.1 (–3.1, 3.0) –0.3 (–3.0, 2.5) 1.2 (–2.1, 4.4) 0.8 (–1.8, –3.3) –0.6 (–3.3, 2.0) 1.0 (–6.7, 7.6)

2.5* (1.6, 3.8) –1.3* (–2.2, –0.5) –1.6 (–2.4, 0.5) –1.3 (–2.8, –0.2) –1.3* (–2.5, –.01) –0.5* (–0.8, –0.1) 0.5 (–1.3, 1.5) –0.1 (–0.2, 0.2) 0.3 (–3.8, 4.5)

Notes: Table entries display the changes in predicted probabilities for the four different types based on a maximum change in the socio-demographic variables listed in the first column. * significant at a p  0.05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

Let me provide a concrete example to illustrate how to read the table. Take the first row in Table 5.1, for example, that displays the change in the predicted probability of being a loyal supporter, policy sceptic, or regime sceptic versus exit sceptic when respondents move from being in the youngest age cohort, the under 29 years old, to the oldest, the over 60 years old, when all other socio-demographic characteristics are kept at their respective average value. The 95 per cent confidence intervals are presented in parentheses, and significant effects are starred. The table shows that moving from the youngest to the oldest age cohort decreases the likelihood of being a loyal supporter by 6.2 percentage points, while it increases the likelihood of being a regime or exit sceptic by 4.6 and 2.5 percentage points respectively. Moving from the youngest to the oldest age cohort does not provide a significant change in the likelihood of being a policy sceptic. The results in Table 5.1 suggest that being a professional worker, a farmer/ fisherman, or one’s placement on the social ladder does not significantly affect the likelihood of someone being a supporter or sceptic when other factors are controlled for. Age, gender, and education matter for almost all different types, while being unemployed, being working class, or having financial worries matter for some types but not for others. Being young, female, highly educated, unemployed, or financially worried increases the likelihood of being a loyal supporter, while being older and male increases 113

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

the likelihood of being an exit sceptic. Belonging to the middle rather than working class and having fewer financial worries also increases the likelihood of being an exit sceptic. Being male increases the likelihood of being a policy or regime sceptic, but a higher educational level coincides with an increased probability of being a regime sceptic, while the opposite holds for policy sceptics. A quite distinct picture emerges of who is an EU sceptic. A sceptic, especially of the exit variety, is most likely male and older, and relatively well-off economically. Not all of the economically vulnerable are most sceptical of European integration, but rather exit scepticism is much more pronounced among those who are relatively well-off. Those who are in more economically precarious positions, who are financially worried, unemployed, or female, are much more likely to be loyal supporters. The findings of educational level seem to fit the utilitarian expectation. However, having a higher education level is linked to both loyal support as well as regime scepticism (see also Hakhverdian et al. 2013). How do these findings sit with the benchmark theory of support and scepticism? In Chapter 4, I theoretically argued and empirically substantiated that people are more likely to attribute policy responsibility to their national system compared to the EU. When national conditions are good, this is attributed to the national governments rather than to the EU. National regime and policy evaluations are higher compared to European ones. As a consequence, the EU regime and policy differentials are more likely to be negative and scepticism is expected to be high. Conversely, when national conditions are not so good, this is also perceived to be the responsibility of the government. National regime and policy evaluations are lower, and EU evaluations are likely to be higher. In more unfavourable national conditions, the EU differentials are therefore likely to be positive, and loyal support high. In a similar vein, we could expect that individuals who are doing relatively well in economic terms would attribute these positive circumstances to the activities of their national government. National evaluations should increase vis-à-vis European evaluations, and scepticism is the likely result. For those who are doing less well economically, it is likely the national government is seen to be to blame, and the EU will be viewed more favourably. One way of checking this is by exploring if the different types attribute more policy responsibility to their national government than the EU. The EES 2014 includes questions asking people to rate the extent to which their national government and the EU is responsible for the economy on a scale from (0) no responsibility to (10) full responsibility. Figure 5.8 shows that among all four types of support and scepticism, the responsibility of the national government for the economy is rated higher than that of the EU. While the government is rated at 7.5 or 7.6 on an 11-point scale of policy 114

Common People? Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

8

Responsibility for economy

6 4 2 0

8 6 4 2 0 Government responsible

EU responsible

Figure 5.8. Policy responsibility among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the average responsibility judgements of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics for the economic policy of their national government or the EU respectively. The differences in responsibility attribution between the national government and EU are statistically significant at p  .05 level across all different types. Source: European Election Study 2014.

responsibility, the EU is rated 6–6.4. The gap between the degree of government and EU responsibility is very similar across the four types, although the biggest is found among exit sceptics at 1.6. The gap is 1.1 for loyal supporters.2 It may be the case that people not only reward or punish their governments for the economic conditions in their country, but also for their own economic well-being. This could form an important aspect of the fact that scepticism, especially of the exit variety, is more pronounced among those who are on average relatively better off, while loyal support is most pronounced among those who are worse off.

2 Note that the policy responsibility for the economy does not vary with economic vulnerability. Relying on the question about people’s ability to pay their bills last year, I compare those who have a high degree of financial worries with those who have a low degree. Both groups hold the national government more responsible for the economy, with roughly a 7.5 score on an 11-point responsibility scale, and the gap between the degree of government and EU responsibility is identical.

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5.2 The Issue Priorities of Supporters and Sceptics Now that the socio-economic and demographic profiles of exit, regime, and policy sceptics as well as loyal supporters have been illustrated, I turn to the question of what they want in terms of policy. In the EES 2014 respondents were asked about which issues they think are the most important. I compared the issue priorities among the four different types for the five most important priorities that respondents mentioned: unemployment, inflation, crime, climate change, and immigration. Figure 5.9 shows the distribution of the importance of each of these five policy issues among loyal supporters, and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. The results show that for 44 per cent of loyal supporters unemployment is the most important policy issue. After unemployment, inflation and crime are important issues for loyal supporters, but their importance is much lower compared to unemployment. Only 17 and 16 per cent, respectively, of loyal supporters view inflation and crime as policy priorities. For policy sceptics, unemployment is also the top priority. Roughly a third of policy sceptics view unemployment as the most important issue. Yet, contrary Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

Percentage finds issue important

50 40 30 20 10 0

50 40 30 20 10 0 Unemployment

Inflation

Crime

Climate change

Immigration

Figure 5.9. Issue priorities among the four types Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who find the issues listed the most important one facing their country. The differences in importance are statistically significant at a p ≤ .05 level across different types in the case of unemployment and immigration. Source: European Election Study 2014.

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Common People?

to loyal supporters it is not inflation and crime, but immigration that is the second most important issue for policy sceptics. This may not be entirely surprising given that policy sceptics are more wary of policy making at the EU level compared to the national level. Against the backdrop of the Eurozone and refugee crises, the EU struggles with the challenges of unemployment and migration within its borders. This is reflected in the issue priorities of policy sceptics. Unemployment and immigration clearly outrank the other issue priorities for policy sceptics, while only 19, 17, and 15 per cent, respectively, see crime, climate change, and inflation as top priorities. Regime sceptics also view unemployment as the top issue priority with 34 per cent of this group finding it important. Their second priority is immigration with 22 per cent. Roughly a fifth of regime sceptics view immigration, climate change, and crime as important, while only 12 per cent think that inflation is a top priority. Loyal supporters and policy and regime sceptics alike view unemployment as the top issue. Loyal supporters care most about unemployment, and for policy and regime sceptics immigration comes second. Figure 5.9 shows that exit sceptics clearly differ from the other types in that 31 per cent view immigration as the most important issue, while unemployment at 29 per cent comes a close second. Crime is the third most important issue for exit sceptics followed by climate change and inflation. Based on the benchmark theory, one would expect the issue priorities of supporters and sceptics to change based on the national conditions they find themselves in. When national economic and political conditions are unfavourable, in that unemployment is high and the quality of government is low, people might be more concerned about unemployment, even when they are more EU sceptic. Equally, when national economic and political conditions are more favourable, people might be more likely to care about concerns other than unemployment. Work by Matthew Singer (2013) on voters’ issue priorities, for example, shows that voters are more likely to consider the economy an important issue during periods of bad economic performance. Figure 5.10 presents the issue priorities of loyal supporters in bad versus good national conditions. Recall that bad conditions are defined as countries scoring lower than the EU average in terms of quality of government and higher in terms of unemployment, while good conditions characterize those countries that display levels of unemployment below and a level of quality of government above the EU average. The results indicate that the issue priorities of loyal supporters indeed vary by national conditions. In contexts where economic and political conditions are bad, loyal supporters care predominantly about unemployment; 53 per cent view it as the top issue priority. This is followed by inflation which 20 per cent view as a top priority. When national economic and political conditions are good, loyal supporters still care predominantly about unemployment; 44 per cent view it as the most 117

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Percentage finds issue important

50

40

30

20

10

0 Unemployment

Inflation

Crime

Climate change

Immigration

Figure 5.10. Issue priorities of loyal supporters by national conditions Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters who find the issues listed the most important one facing their country. The differences in importance of the different issues are statistically significant at a p  .05 level across bad and good conditions. Source: European Election Study 2014.

important issue, but immigration and crime are also viewed as important. Comparison of means tests indicate that these differences are statistically significant (p  0.05 level). Figure 5.11 shows that policy sceptics residing in worse national conditions care more about unemployment than those residing in good conditions. In fact, policy sceptics residing in contexts where unemployment is lower than the EU average and the quality of government is higher care about unemployment, but also about immigration. In countries with good conditions, 37 per cent of policy sceptics think unemployment is the top priority, while 24 per cent think it is immigration. Only 8 per cent of policy sceptics in countries where economic and political conditions are bad view immigration as an important issue. While inflation is the second most important issue for policy sceptics in countries with bad conditions, crime and climate change are also important for those in good conditions. Comparison of means tests reveal that these differences are statistically significant (p  0.05 level). Figure 5.12 shows that regime sceptics residing in contexts with bad economic and political conditions care much more about unemployment compared to those residing in good conditions. For 44 per cent of regime sceptics 118

Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Percentage finds issue important

50

40

30

20

10

0 Unemployment

Inflation

Crime

Climate change

Immigration

Figure 5.11. Issue priorities of policy sceptics by national conditions Notes: Figure entries represent the share of policy sceptics who find the issues listed the most important one facing their country. The differences in importance of the different issues are statistically significant at a p  .05 level across bad and good conditions. Source: European Election Study 2014.

Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Percentage finds issue important

50

40

30

20

10

0 Unemployment

Inflation

Crime

Climate change

Immigration

Figure 5.12. Issue priorities of regime sceptics by national conditions Notes: Figure entries represent the share of regime sceptics who find the issues listed the most important one facing their country. The differences in importance of the different issues are statistically significant at a p  .05 level across bad and good conditions. Source: European Election Study 2014.

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Percentage finds issue important

50

40

30

20

10

0 Unemployment

Inflation

Crime

Climate change

Immigration

Figure 5.13. Issue priorities of exit sceptics by national conditions Notes: Figure entries represent the share of exit sceptics who find the issues listed the most important one facing their country. The differences in importance of the different issues are statistically significant at a p  .05 level across bad and good conditions. Source: European Election Study 2014.

in countries with bad conditions, unemployment is the top priority, while only 35 per cent of regime sceptics residing in countries with good conditions view unemployment as the most important issue. In countries with relatively good economic and political conditions, regime sceptics care a lot about immigration, much more so than their counterparts living in worse conditions. Again comparison of means tests reveal that these differences are statistically significant (p  0.05 level). Exit sceptics on average care most about immigration as an issue, much more than loyal supporters and policy and regime sceptics. Yet, when we split exit sceptics by the characteristics of the countries they reside in (Figure 5.13), we see that this is mainly due to exit sceptics residing in countries with good economic and political conditions. In contexts characterized by high unemployment and a low quality of government, even exit sceptics care predominantly about unemployment. Comparison of means tests suggest that these differences are statistically significant (p  0.05 level). In fact, regardless of the type of support or scepticism, for people who live in environments that are below the EU average in terms of economic and political performance, unemployment is always the most important priority. 120

Common People?

While unemployment is also a key concern for loyal supporters residing in countries with good conditions, for regime and policy sceptics in those environments, immigration is also important. For exit sceptics in member states with favourable economic and political conditions, immigration is in fact the top priority. These findings reflect the economic and political performance that people experience in their respective countries. Moreover, the fact that people in countries with relatively good conditions care more about immigration on average compared to those in bad conditions also reflects real-world conditions. Intra-EU migration has primarily been one-directional. Citizens in countries with worse economic and political conditions, mostly in Southern, Central, and Eastern Europe, have moved to countries that perform above the EU average, those in the Northern and Western regions of the continent (Eurostat 2017).

5.3 The Issue Positions of Supporters and Sceptics The overview of the issue priorities of exit, regime, and policy sceptics as well as loyal supporters shows that two policy issues are of crucial importance in people’s minds: unemployment and immigration. Moreover, the relative weight of these issue priorities is affected by people’s scepticism. Sceptics care about both, but exit sceptics care especially about immigration. The differences in issue priorities also vary based on the national conditions people face. Unemployment is the key priority for any sceptic, even exit sceptics, in countries that do relatively badly in terms of unemployment and quality of government. Sceptics in countries that are doing well care much more about immigration. I will now explore people’s economic and migration preferences. When it comes to remedies for unemployment, do people want to see more state intervention in the economy and more redistribution, and how do these preferences differ across the four different types of support and scepticism? On the question of migration, what positions do sceptics and supporters hold? People’s support for more redistribution, more state intervention in the economy, less migration, and more national control is measured on 11-point scales where higher values indicate a preference for redistribution, state intervention in the economy, restriction of migration, and more national control. Using an ordinary least squares regression model, I aim to estimate people’s issue positions based on their type of support and scepticism, a host of socio-demographic characteristics (specifically age, gender, education, unemployment, high skilled worker, farmer, financial worry, class identification, and social ladder positioning) and country fixed effects to account for country-specific variation in issue positions. Figure 5.14 shows 121

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Policy

Regime

Exit

–0.5

0

0.5 Effect on support (0–10)

More redistribution Restrict migration

1

1.5

More state intervention More national control

Figure 5.14. Predicting issue positions by the four types Note: Figure entries represent ordinary least squares regression coefficients (dots) with 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: European Election Study 2014.

the results of these analyses. The effect of belonging to a specific type of support or scepticism after controlling for socio-demographic and country characteristics is captured by the dots in Figure 5.14 and the lines display the 95 per cent confidence intervals. In order for the type of support and scepticism to matter, the dot should not fall on the line denoting the zero point on the x-axis and the confidence intervals should not include this zero line. An effect is positive when the dot falls to the right of the zero line and it is negative when it falls to the left. The figure shows the effect of belonging to the policy, regime, or exit sceptic category with respect to loyal supporters. Hence, we explore the differences in issue positions between different types of sceptics as well as loyal supporters. Policy sceptics differ most starkly from loyal supporters when it comes to their preference for more national control. They also are slightly more likely to wish to restrict migration and redistribution, but these effects are smaller. Policy sceptics and loyal supporters do not differ when it comes to preferences for state intervention in the economy. This is also the case for exit sceptics. Regime sceptics wish less state intervention in the economy compared to loyal supporters. Interestingly, regime sceptics also wish to see more redistribution compared to loyal supporters, while policy and 122

Common People? Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Policy

Policy

Regime

Regime

Exit

Exit

–0.5

0 1 0.5 Effect on support (0–10)

1.5

More redistribution Restrict migration

–1

0 1 Effect on support (0–10)

2

More state More control

Figure 5.15. Predicting policy positions by the four types and national conditions Note: Figure entries represent ordinary least squares regression coefficients (dots, diamonds, squares, and triangles) with 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: European Election Study 2014.

exit sceptics both prefer less redistribution compared to loyal supporters. All sceptics oppose migration, but only exit sceptics hold positions that are statistically significantly different from loyal supporters. Sceptics also differ from loyal supporters in terms of wanting to see more national control over international affairs, but this effect is far more pronounced for exit sceptics. In fact, this is the key aspect that differentiates exit sceptics from other types of sceptics as well as their preference for restrictions on migration. I also explore differences based on the contexts where sceptics and supporters find themselves in terms of economic and political performance. The results are displayed in Figure 5.15, and are presented in the same way as before albeit that they are now split by two groups of countries: those that have economic and quality of government conditions that are better than the EU average versus those with worse conditions. Except for policy and exit sceptics in bad national conditions who want slightly less redistribution, the findings show barely significant differences. This is interesting as it suggests that even though sceptics in different contexts have divergent issue priorities, their issue positions do not differ. 123

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Overall, these findings suggest that supporters and sceptics differ only marginally when it comes to their preferences about redistribution and state intervention in the economy, but differ much more in terms of their preferences about taking back national control and restricting migration. Sceptics, especially exit sceptics, want their country to take back control and wish migration to be restricted in comparison to supporters. These findings, taken together with differences in issue priorities outlined in Section 5.2, suggest that exit scepticism differs from regime and policy scepticism primarily in terms of concern about migration as well as demands for a restriction of migration and more national control. Loyal supporters are primarily concerned with economic issues. Regime and policy sceptics are equally concerned about migration and economic issues, but differ more from supporters based on their positions towards migration and national control. Finally, the analyses have shown that benchmarks matter. The better the country does in terms of economic and political performance, the more migration becomes an issue of concern. Sceptics (even exit sceptics) in countries with high unemployment and a low quality of government care more about economic issues than migration. One final question that might arise is whether these findings are simply not picking up people’s feelings of national identity. A large body of work to date has argued that identity considerations are a decisive force in shaping support for the EU (Carey 2002; McLaren 2002; Díez Medrano 2003; Hooghe and Marks 2005; Kuhn 2015). Specifically, people with a more exclusive national identity are less likely to support European integration. I find that sceptics, especially of the exit variety, are male, older, slightly less well educated and relatively well-off as well as being opposed to migration. This could simply represent someone with a stronger national attachment. If this is the case, then it should be demonstrable that sceptics and supporters differ in their national and European attachments. Figure 5.16 shows the distribution of people’s stated attachment to the EU and their nation. The EES asks people to rate the degree to which they feel attached to their country and to the EU on a four-point scale ranging from (1) not at all to (4) very much. The findings show that while exit sceptics are slightly more strongly attached to their nation state and less so to the EU, the difference with loyal supporters is very small. What is more, I find that policy sceptics feel even slightly more attached to the EU than loyal supporters, 2.97 versus 2.89. In a next step, people’s attachment to their nation state is considered based on the different types of support and scepticism whilst controlling for socio-demographic and country fixed effects. The results are displayed in Figure 5.17, and show that only the effects of policy and exit scepticism reach statistical significance. That is to say, national attachments are higher for these two groups. Yet, these effects are small. In fact, they disappear when 124

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

4 3

Level of attachment

2 1 0

4 3 2 1 0 National attachment

European attachment

Figure 5.16. National and European attachment among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the average responses to questions about national and European attachment on a four-point scale from ‘not at all’ to ‘very much attached’. Source: European Election Study 2014.

With policy positions

Without policy positions

Policy

Policy

Regime

Regime

Exit

Exit

–0.1 –0.05 0 0.05 Effect on national attachment (1– 4)

–0.1 –0.05 0 0.05 Effect on national attachment (1– 4)

Figure 5.17. Predicting national attachment by the four types Note: Figure entries represent ordinary least squares regression coefficients (dots) with 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: European Election Study 2014.

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

people’s issue positions are controlled for. These findings seem to suggest that supporters differ from sceptics not so much due to their degree of national attachment, but based on their issue positions.

5.4 Summary and Implications This chapter suggests that the different types of supporters and sceptics have quite distinct demographic profiles and very distinct issue priorities and positions. In terms of demographics, the results indicate that scepticism is not so much the prerogative of the economically deprived or lower skilled. This does not mean that the effects of globalization or increased economic and political integration are not important. Quite the contrary; what seems to differentiate sceptics from loyal supporters in terms of issue priorities and positions are people’s views on migration and their preference for more national control. Arguably, both sets of preferences link to the globalization process (Rodrik 2011). It is not the case that EU scepticism coincides with having lost out economically per se; rather it seems to be related to people’s fears about migration and the sovereignty of their nation state (see also De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). In terms of migration, the results indicate that exit sceptics hold the most pronounced anti-migrant views as well as seeing migration as the most important issue. Policy and regime sceptics are also more worried about migration than loyal supporters, but view it either as equally or less important than unemployment. When it comes to concerns about national control, exit sceptics display the strongest preference for more national control in international affairs and are closely followed by regime and policy sceptics. Loyal supporters display the least support for the idea of more national control. Given the fact that this chapter has demonstrated that public opinion is divided and that people want quite different things from their politicians, I suggest that EU and national elites face a conundrum when they aim to address scepticism as well as making sure that supporters remain loyal to the European project. While sceptics in countries with high unemployment and low quality of government care primarily about economic growth and job creation, those in countries with more favourable economic and political conditions have other policy priorities. In these contexts, exit sceptics care predominantly about migration and wish to see it restricted, while the top priorities of regime and policy sceptics are a combination of migration, unemployment, and the environment. Loyal supporters care especially about unemployment, and demand more redistribution. Crafting policies that will satisfy these divergent constituencies will prove a tall order.

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Part IV The Consequences of Support and Scepticism

6 Going Hard or Soft? Party Choice among Supporters and Sceptics

The European elections showed a widespread and still unanswered demand for change. The choice is ours. We can turn a blind eye and let this demand turn sour, fuelling anti-European, even xenophobic sentiment. Or we can address the underlying needs. Matteo Renzi, 24 June 2014, Rome

In recent years we have witnessed a surge in support for Eurosceptic parties in Brussels and across Europe. Just like public scepticism, Eurosceptic parties are a diverse group. Some are ‘hard sceptics’ who strongly oppose the EU. These parties reject the idea of European integration and campaign for their countries to exit the EU (Taggart and Szczerbiak 2004; Szczerbiak and Taggart 2008a, 2008b; Treib 2014). Examples of hard Eurosceptic parties are the National Front in France led by Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands. Le Pen worked to bring the National Front into the mainstream since taking over from her father in 2011. In 2017 she ran on a strictly anti-euro, anti-immigration, and anti-Islam platform (Shields 2013). Geert Wilders, like Le Pen, combined an anti-immigration and anti-EU platform (Vossen 2011). With slogans such as ‘taking our country back’ or ‘making the Netherlands great again’, he started actively campaigning for a Dutch exit referendum.1 Other parties are ‘soft Eurosceptics’ who accept the idea of European integration, but demand reform of specific policies or institutions (Taggart and Szczerbiak 2004; Szczerbiak and Taggart 2008a, 2008b; Treib 2014). Examples of soft Eurosceptic parties are Podemos in Spain or Syriza in Greece. Both 1 For the slogans that Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom used after the Brexit vote and during the 2017 national parliamentary election, see his twitter announcement: https://twitter.com/ geertwilderspvv/status/796423126586363904?lang=nl.

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

parties rose to electoral fame during the Eurozone crisis. Podemos mobilized grievances of segments of the Spanish population that were suffering from the economic crisis and the austerity measures imposed by Brussels (Betz 2016). Syriza was even more vocal in its opposition to the austerity policies that the Council and Commission demanded and aimed to uphold in Greece. The party’s message resonated with voters, and led the party to government (Spourdalakis 2014). Hard and soft Eurosceptic parties do not oppose the integration process to the same extent, and the differences between them closely mirror the patterns of public opinion that this book has outlined so far. Exit sceptics, like hard Eurosceptic parties, reject the EU project as they oppose both European policy making and the way the rules and procedures operate at the EU level. Policy and regime sceptics more closely resemble the positions of soft Eurosceptic parties in that they are critical of specific policies or procedural aspects of the EU, but do not reject the EU as a whole. Therefore, I expect to find a link between different types of sceptics and their preferences for either soft or hard Eurosceptic parties. Relying on data about people’s voting decisions in the 2014 European Parliament elections, the EES 2014, this chapter shows that a larger proportion of exit sceptics voted for hard Eurosceptic parties in this election compared to other types. Moreover, exit sceptics are more likely to vote for hard Eurosceptic parties on the right of the political spectrum, and to base their vote for these Eurosceptic parties on their preference for more national control and a restriction of migration and redistribution. When it comes to policy and regime sceptics, the relationship with soft Eurosceptic parties is less straightforward. While, on average, policy sceptics are equally likely to support hard or soft Eurosceptic parties, regime sceptics show a greater preference for hard Eurosceptic parties. However, when the issue priorities of these sceptics are taken into account, a more nuanced picture emerges. Policy and regime sceptics who care most about unemployment are more likely to support soft over hard Eurosceptic parties on the left, while those who care more about immigration favour hard over soft Eurosceptic parties on the right of the political spectrum. While the vote choices of regime sceptics are linked to preferences for less migration and more national control and redistribution, those of policy sceptics seem to be driven predominantly by a wish for more redistribution. These findings are important for our understanding of the way in which public opinion affects the ability of governments to push integration further. When the share of sceptics is high, especially exit sceptics, government leaders can expect to find strong electoral showings by Eurosceptic parties, especially of the hard variety. This arguably makes it more difficult for governments to bargain at home and in Brussels. This chapter is structured as follows. It first outlines the conditions under which we can expect to find a link between people’s EU support and scepticism 130

Going Hard or Soft?

and their behaviour at the ballot box. Next, it explores the party vote shares of exit, regime, and issue sceptics and loyal supporters, and delves deeper into the importance of different issue priorities among these groups. It then examines how different issue positions of exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters affect their support for Eurosceptic parties. Finally, the chapter outlines the ways in which these voting patterns might affect the room to manoeuvre for EU and national governmental elites at the European level.

6.1 The Importance of Supply and Demand For a long time scholars conceived of European Parliamentary elections as second order elections where voting choices were primarily based on domestic political considerations (Reif and Schmitt 1980; Van der Eijk and Franklin 1996). Due to the fact that the powers of the European Parliament were fairly limited compared to domestic parliaments and European integration was largely uncontested in the eyes of voters, people mainly used European Parliamentary elections as mid-term elections to express their approval or disappointment with their national governments. The term ‘second order voting’ signifies the process by which voters use concerns other than their views about the EU to decide which party to vote for (see Reif and Schmitt 1980). Against the backdrop of more public concern about Europe and an extension of the powers of the European Parliament, recent evidence suggests that EU concerns do affect voting choices (Clark and Rohrschneider 2009; Hobolt et al. 2009; De Vries et al. 2011; Hobolt and Spoon 2012; Hobolt and De Vries 2016b). Indeed, voters increasingly use European Parliament elections, and national elections for that matter, to express their concerns about the EU. The term ‘EU issue voting’ is used to describe a situation in which people’s EU evaluations in part affect their party choice (De Vries 2007). In previous work, I have suggested that the degree of people’s support and scepticism shapes their decisions about who to vote for and largely depends on two conditions: first, voters need to have distinct views on EU membership and care enough about them and, second, there need to be parties that take divergent stances on the issue (De Vries 2007). In other words, both a demand and a supply condition need to be met. Only when people care enough about their European views and parties act as an expression of these views will people be able to cast a ballot based on their support or scepticism about the EU. Figure 6.1 summarizes these insights, presenting an overview of the conditions under which EU issue voting is most likely to occur. Only when both public demand and party supply are present is EU issue voting likely to develop. Given that under all other conditions, second order voting is the most likely outcome, it should not come as a surprise that 131

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Party supply

Public demand Low

High

Low

Second order voting

Second order voting

High

Second order voting

EU issue voting

Figure 6.1. Conditions for second order and EU issue voting

since the establishment of direct elections to the European Parliament, voting behaviour was viewed as largely second order in nature (Van der Brug et al. 2007). The hurdles for the establishment of EU issue voting are significant. When it comes to supply, most government and mainstream parties are generally characterized by pro-EU stances (Hooghe et al. 2002), although recently there have been more and more exceptions like Syriza in Greece or Fidesz in Hungary. The party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Fidesz, is a soft Eurosceptic party that combines a willingness to stay in Europe with harsh anti-European rhetoric insisting that Hungary needs to be ‘protected’ from Brussels (Ágh 2016). The British Conservative Party is an historical outlier of a Eurosceptic party in government. It could already be classified as Eurosceptic in the late 1990s (McAllister and Studlar 2000). The strongest opposition towards the EU is usually found on the extremes of the political spectrum albeit for different reasons (Hooghe et al. 2002; De Vries and Edwards 2009). Parties on the right tend to be Eurosceptic based on a defence of national sovereignty and opposition to immigration, while parties on the left criticize the neoliberal slant of European integration, and oppose Brussels-led austerity politics that is viewed as undermining the national welfare state (Hooghe et al. 2002; De Vries and Edwards 2009; Kriesi et al. 2012). The differences between the EU stances of mainstream and extreme parties is often referred to as the inverted U-curve. Recent evidence suggests that the inverted-U curve might be weakening at least in some member states (De Vries 2017b). The 2014 European Parliamentary elections were characterized by a strong surge in Eurosceptic parties. Figure 6.2 shows the number of right-wing and left-wing Eurosceptic members of the European Parliament as a share of all parliamentarians representing a member state. The figure shows that the number of left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptic parliamentarians is substantial in most countries. In five out of 28 member states (Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia), no Eurosceptic party made it to the European Parliament. Only in one of these countries, Malta, was there no Eurosceptic party on the ballot (Viola 2015). Scholars of party positioning on European integration have suggested that party Euroscepticism is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart (2008a, 2008b), for example, suggest that 132

Going Hard or Soft? Sweden Spain Slovenia Slovakia Romania Portugal Poland Netherlands Malta Luxembourg Lithuania Latvia Italy Ireland Hungary Greece Great Britain Germany France Finland Estonia Denmark Czech Republic Cyprus Croatia Bulgaria Belgium Austria 0

20

40

60

Eurosceptic MEPs as share of overall number in country in % Left MEPs

Right MEPs

Figure 6.2. Eurosceptic members of the 2014 European Parliament Note: Figure entries represent the share of left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptic members of the European Parliament relative to overall number of parliamentarians in 2014 European Parliament for each member state. Source: Author’s own calculations based on official results from the European Parliament (2014).

Euroscepticism is a two-dimensional concept pitting ‘hard Eurosceptics’ against ‘soft Eurosceptics’ (see also Taggart and Szczerbiak 2004). Hard Euroscepticism refers to opposition to membership of or the existence of the EU, whereas soft Euroscepticism combines support for the existence of and membership of the EU with opposition to specific EU policies. In their study of party Euroscepticism in East Central Europe, Petr Kopecký and Cas Mudde (2002) distinguish between a ‘diffuse’ and ‘specific’ variety, between support for the ideas of European integration and support for the EU as such. On the basis of the hard/soft Eurosceptic distinction and the overall ideological leaning, left or right, Sara Hobolt and myself (2016b) classified Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliamentary election into four groups: hard Eurosceptic left, hard Eurosceptic right, soft Eurosceptic left, and soft Eurosceptic right. This classification is presented in Table 6.1 (see also Treib 2014). Parties included in the list match those listed in the 2014 EES questionnaire. This covers all parties that won seats in the 2014 European Parliament and some more that did not. Parties are classified as left or right or Eurosceptic or not based on data from the 133

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 6.1. Hard and soft Eurosceptic parties included in the 2014 EES Country

Austria

Party name

Freedom Party Alliance for the Future of Austria EUStop

Belgium

Alliance for a different Europe The Reform Conservatives Vlaams Belang PVDA+ PTB-GO! People’s Party

Bulgaria

Croatia Cyprus

Czech Republic

VMRO-BND/Bulgaria without Censorship** National Front Attack Croatian Party of Rights Progressive Party of Working People National Popular Front (ELAM) Communist Party Party of Free Citizens Dawn of Direct Democracy

Denmark

Civic Democratic Party Danish People’s Party

Finland

People’s Movement against the EU Conservative People’s Party of Estonia Finns Party

France

National Front

Estonia

Left Front France Arise Germany

New Anticapitalist Party Alternative for Germany Left Party National Democratic Party

Greece

Syriza Golden Dawn KKE

134

Classification

EU position

L–R position

(1–7)

(0–10)

1.9

8.7

2.7 -

7.8 -

2.6

9.2

3.4 2.5

0.4 7.5

3.3

6.1

Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left

3 1.5

6.9 5.3

2.9 4.5

9.3 2

Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left

-

-

2.7

1.1

1.3

8.7

2.3

7.7

2.9 1.9

8 6.9

1.1 -

2 -

1.6

5.1

1.2

9.6

2 -

1.7 -

1.6

8.9

3 1.7

1.2 10

3.4 1.1

2 9.9

1.1

0.7

Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right

Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left

Going Hard or Soft? Popular Orthodox Rally Independent Greeks Hungary Ireland Italy

JOBBIK Fidesz Sinn Fein People Before Profit Alliance Five Star Movement*** Northern League The Other Europe with Tsipras Brothers of Italy

Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg

National Alliance Union of Greens and Farmers Latvian Russian Union Order and Justice Electoral Action of Lithuania’s Poles Alternative for Democratic Reform The Left

Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic left/ right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left

3.2

8.7

2.2

8.8

1.2

9.7

2.7 2.8 2.3 1.4

7.9 2.1 0.7 4.7

1.1

8.6

2.2

7.8

5 5 2.8 3.2 5.1 3 3.6

8.3 5.9 3.2 6.6 5.7 8 0.5

Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic right Hard Eurosceptic left Hard Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic left/ right

1.1

9.25

2.1 3.4/2.6 3.8 1.1

1 5.4/8 7.9 9.5

3 1.8 3.1 4.5 -

8.2 0.5 1.3 4.3 -

3 4.2 2.8 2.2

6.5 7 7.2 8.3

3.6 -

1 -

4.6 4.4 1.2

2 1.6 7.7

2.1 3.1 3.7

1.7 1.8 5

Malta Netherlands

Poland

Portugal Romania

Freedom Party Socialist Party Coalition CU-SGP Law and Justice Congress of the New Right United Poland United Democratic Coalition Left Bloc People’s Party—Dan Diaconescu Greater Romania Party

Slovakia

Ordinary People New Majority Freedom and Solidarity Slovak National Party

Slovenia

United Left Slovenian National Party

Spain

United Left Podemos (We Can) Sweden Democrats

Sweden

Left Party June List Feminist Initiative Pirate Party***

(continued )

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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Table 6.1. Continued Country

United Kingdom

Party name

UKIP Conservative Party Sinn Fein Democratic Unionist Party

Classification

Hard Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic right Soft Eurosceptic left Soft Eurosceptic right

EU position

L–R position

(1–7)

(0–10)

1.1

9.1

3.1 -

7 -

Notes: Parties listed are those included in the 2014 EES as a vote choice in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. Parties are classified on the basis of the CHES scores on the left–right and EU dimensions, as well as on their specific Euromanifestos and European Parliamentary group membership. In general, hard Eurosceptic parties have a CHES EU score below 2.7 (opposed or strongly opposed to the EU) and right-wing parties have a CHES left–right score above 5 (rightwing). *** denotes parties difficult to classify as either left- or right-wing. Sources: European Election Study 2014 and Chapel Hill Expert Survey 2014.

2014 Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES) (Bakker et al. 2015), which measures party positioning on both dimensions on a (1) (left or anti-EU) to a (7) (right or pro-EU) scale. We combined this data with information about parties from their specific Euro-manifestos and European Parliamentary group membership. In general, hard Eurosceptic parties have a CHES EU score below 2.7 (opposed or strongly opposed to the EU) and right-wing parties have a CHES left–right score above 5 (right-wing). Table 6.1 provides information about 77 parties that competed in elections in 27 member states. Of these 77 Eurosceptic parties, 28 classify as hard right, 21 as soft right, 9 as hard left, and 19 as soft left. This distribution suggests that the share of soft Eurosceptic parties is almost equally distributed across the left and right of the party system, but most hard Eurosceptic parties are right-wing. These parties reject their country’s EU membership primarily based on national sovereignty and anti-immigration concerns (Treib 2014). The Maltese 2014 election was the only one that did not feature a Eurosceptic party on the ballot. Although the Maltese political landscape has had Eurosceptic parties in the past—most notably the Labour Party and Libertas Malta—when the Labour party was in government, it changed to a largely pro-EU stance despite initially opposing Malta entering the EU.2 In the 2009 elections Libertas Malta only fielded one candidate, who failed to get elected, and the party is currently inactive (Viola 2015). In all other member states, Eurosceptic parties ran in the 2014 election. With the exception of Malta, the condition of party supply for the development of EU issue voting was met in the 2014 European Parliamentary 2

136

http://www.partitlaburista.org (accessed 13 November 2016).

Going Hard or Soft? Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

50 40 Percentage finds issue important

30 20 10 0

50 40 30 20 10 0 Euro/EU powers

Unemployment

Immigration

Figure 6.3. Issue priorities among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the share of respondents who view EU-related issues the most important compared to the share who view unemployment and immigration as most important. Source: European Election Study 2014.

election. What about public demand? In the previous chapters, it has been shown that the public is deeply divided when it comes to the EU and that it is highly responsive to real-world conditions. However, does the public care enough about their own EU stances and those of parties to let these inform their choices at the ballot box? Figure 6.3 presents data about the extent to which people think that EU-related matters, specifically the Euro or the powers of EU officials and institutions, are important. As in Chapter 5, where I discussed the priority of various issues among the different types of EU supporters and sceptics, I rely on answers to questions included in the EES 2014 asking people about the importance of those issues. In order to get a sense of how important EU-related issues are, I present the proportion of people who think that the Euro and powers of EU officials and institutions are most important against the proportion who think unemployment or immigration are the most important. These two issues ranked with the highest priority in people’s minds at the time of the 2014 European Parliament elections. I break the issue priorities of voters down by the four types of support and scepticism. Figure 6.3 shows that in 2014 voters indeed cared about EU-related issues, but the degree to which they cared differs based on their classification in terms of support and scepticism. For 30 per cent of exit sceptics, EU-related issues are 137

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Great Britain

Hungary

Ireland

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0

Percentage most important issues

0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 Sweden 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 Euro/EU powers

Unemployment

Immigration

Figure 6.4. Issue priorities across member states Note: Figure entries represent the share of respondents who view EU-related issues the most important compared to the share who view unemployment and immigration as most important in countries listed. Source: European Election Study 2014.

the key priority. This share is similar to the importance exit sceptics attach to unemployment: 30 per cent view it as a priority; or immigration: 30 per cent view it as the most important issue. For policy and regime sceptics, EU-related issues are important; in fact 31 and 28 per cent, respectively, view it as the most important issue. These shares are lower than for unemployment. For regime and policy sceptics, as in the case of loyal supporters, unemployment constitutes the most important issue. EU-related issues are least important for loyal supporters; 24 per cent view them as the most important issue, but the difference compared to sceptics is not huge. Figure 6.4 provides the same information, but now broken down by individual member states. The figure shows that in countries in the North and West of the European continent, such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, 138

Going Hard or Soft?

and the Netherlands, where economic performance and quality of government are above the EU average, EU-related issues are equally or even more important than unemployment and immigration. In Southern and Central Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Romania, for example, where economic performance and quality of government is below the EU average, unemployment trumps all other issues in terms of importance. That said, in these latter countries, EUrelated issues are clearly more important than immigration. Only in Great Britain is immigration the most important issue. These findings link to those in Chapter 5 and underscore the importance of national conditions. The results presented in Figures 6.3 and 6.4 suggest that EU-related issues are very important to voters, especially for sceptics and respondents in the Northern and Western regions of Europe. Note that these figures may present something of an underestimation of the importance of the EU in voters’ minds. At the time of the Eurozone and refugee crises, the importance of immigration and unemployment are likely to have had an EU-related component. This is arguably very difficult to capture by means of existing data sources. If we consider all the evidence presented so far, it seems that both the conditions of public demand and party supply were met in the 2014 European Parliament election. The only exception is Malta, where there was no Eurosceptic party on the ballot paper. Do voters care enough about EU-related issues by voting for a party that expresses their concerns? Moreover, do exit sceptics vote for hard Eurosceptic parties, while policy and regime sceptics support soft ones? These are the questions to which the chapter turns next.

6.2 Support for Eurosceptic Parties Almost one in four voters voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliament election. Do we find differences in Eurosceptic party support among loyal supporters, and policy and regime septics as well as exit sceptics? Based on the benchmark approach, one would expect so. Exit sceptics and loyal supporters hold diametrically opposing views when it comes to the EU, but their attitudes also have something in common: they are unified. Exit sceptics dislike both EU policies and the regime, while loyal supporters like both. Policy and regime sceptics, however, hold ambivalent EU attitudes. They like certain aspects of the EU, but not others. Holding unified versus ambivalent attitudes is important because of their behavioural consequences. Scholars of public opinion call attention to the possibility that individuals are ambivalent, that is to say they can simultaneously like and dislike an attitude object. A complete attitude is not defined as a single point but as a pair of points that characterize the intensity of liking and disliking (Feldman and Zaller 1992; Feldman 1995; 139

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Cacioppo et al. 1997). People possess multiple predispositions, which may either be conflicting (ambivalent) or reconciled (unified). One can think about this as a sampling problem (Feldman and Zaller 1992). When an individual answers a survey question, she will engage in responses of the ‘off the top of her head’ type. This means that she samples at best a few considerations. Since the individual may draw from different parts of the sample at different times, the expressed opinions may not always come out as identical. Those who hold more ambivalent attitudes have less tight attitude distributions compared to those holding more unified attitudes, and will thus display more variability in responses between different questions. This difference between ambivalent and unified attitudes is important. Attitudes that are characterized by ambivalence are held with less certainty, are retrieved from memory with more difficulty and, overall, tend to be less stable over time (Zaller 1992; Huckfeldt et al. 2000). As a result, people holding ambivalent attitudes are less likely to act on these attitudes when deciding who to vote for, for example. Indeed, research by Scott Basinger and Howard Lavine (2005) from the United States shows that voters holding ambivalent partisan attitudes, who typically constitute 30 per cent of the American electorate, rely less on their party identification when deciding who to vote for compared to nonambivalent partisans. This effect is independent of the strength of identification. In a similar vein, I would expect support for Eurosceptic parties to be more pronounced among exit sceptics than policy and regime sceptics. Also, based on the benchmark theory, one would expect exit sceptics to display a higher willingness to vote for hard Eurosceptic parties that vocalize an outright rejection of the European project altogether compared to policy and regime sceptics. The latter types are expected to coincide with more support for soft Eurosceptic parties that may like the notion of European integration, but are opposed to specific policy or institutional arrangements. Figure 6.5 displays the share of loyal supporters, and policy and regime sceptics as well as exit sceptics who voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 election. Eurosceptic party support here is based on people who voted for a hard right, hard left, soft right, or soft left Eurosceptic party, respectively. These results show that support for Eurosceptic parties increases with scepticism, and is highest among exit sceptics. 42 per cent of exit sceptics voted for a Eurosceptic party while 31 per cent of regime and 24 per cent of policy sceptics did so. Eurosceptic party support is the lowest among loyal supporters with 23 per cent. This number may still seem quite substantial, but it is important to keep two things in mind. First, I use quite a conservative way to tap into loyal support, as every voter who holds identical national and EU evaluations and has EU regime and policy differentials of zero is coded as a loyal supporter. This is to capture the idea that people are essentially status quo biased in that they will support the status quo over any change 140

Going Hard or Soft?

Eurosceptic party support

40

30

20

10

0 Loyal support Regime scepticism

Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 6.5. Support for Eurosceptic parties among the four types Notes: Figure entries represent the share of respondents who indicate that they voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Distinctions between Eurosceptic party support or not is based on the classifications in Table 6.1. The differences between regime and exit sceptics and the other types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

when they perceive little difference between policies and the way procedures work at the national and EU levels. Second, people may support Eurosceptic parties based on concerns other than their EU positions. Overall, I find that support for Eurosceptic parties is lowest among loyal supporters, while it is highest among exit sceptics followed by regime and policy sceptics respectively. Of those who supported a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election, how many supported a hard versus a soft Eurosceptic party? Figure 6.6 breaks down support for hard versus soft Eurosceptic parties among the four different types. The figure shows that in line with my expectation, support for hard Eurosceptic parties is highest among unified sceptics, that is, exit sceptics. Eurosceptic party support among exit supporters overall is 42 per cent (see Figure 6.5), and this is made up of 24 per cent hard Eurosceptic support and 18 per cent soft Eurosceptic support. The reverse holds for loyal supporters. Of the overall 23 per cent of loyal supporters who voted for a Eurosceptic party, 10 per cent voted for a hard Eurosceptic party, while 13 per cent voted for a soft Eurosceptic party. While support for hard and soft Eurosceptic parties is almost identical for policy sceptics, I find that regime sceptics overall are more likely to vote for a hard Eurosceptic party, although 141

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration 25

Percentage

20

15

10

5

0

Loyal

Policy Hard Eurosceptic

Regime

Exit

Soft Eurosceptic

Figure 6.6. Hard versus soft Eurosceptic party support among the four types Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Distinctions between hard and soft Eurosceptic party support are based on classifications in Table 6.1. The differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

the difference is less stark compared to exit sceptics. Of the 31 per cent Eurosceptic party support among regime sceptics overall, 17 per cent is for hard and 14 per cent for soft Eurosceptic parties. I next break down Eurosceptic party support for the four types of parties outlined in Table 6.1: soft left, hard left, soft right, and hard right Eurosceptic parties, and compare their support among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. Figure 6.7 provides this information. While the support for soft Eurosceptic parties is highest among people voting for left-wing parties, the reverse holds true for right-wing parties. When it comes to right-wing parties, support for hard Eurosceptic parties is high among all types of scepticism, although clearly most pronounced among exit sceptics. Interestingly, exit sceptics are equally likely to vote for a hard or soft left-wing Eurosceptic party. When policy and regime sceptics support a left-wing Eurosceptic party, this is most often a soft Eurosceptic one. On the right, they are more likely to vote for a hard Eurosceptic party. For loyal supporters, electoral support for hard and soft Eurosceptic parties is about equal when voting for the right, but larger for soft Eurosceptic parties on the left.

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Figure 6.7. Left versus right Eurosceptic party support among the four types Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Distinctions between hard left or right and soft left or right Eurosceptic party support are based on classifications in Table 6.1. The differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

In Chapter 5, I demonstrated that two issues stood out among the issue priorities of supporters or sceptics in the 2014 election, namely unemployment and immigration. These issues are usually, albeit not exclusively, associated with left- and right-wing Eurosceptic parties respectively (Hooghe et al. 2002; De Vries and Edwards 2009). Does party support for left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptic parties differ based on people’s issue priorities? Figures 6.8 and 6.9 compare the support for soft and hard Eurosceptic parties split by the importance people attach to unemployment and immigration respectively, and do so for parties on the left and right of the political spectrum. While it is the case that immigration is often associated with right-wing Eurosceptic parties and unemployment with left-wing parties, some rightwing populist parties, such as the Danish People’s Party, the Dutch Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, or the National Front in France, are increasing their rhetoric of welfare state protection (Van der Pas et al. 2013; Careja et al.

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Figure 6.8. Left Eurosceptic party support by unemployment and immigration as priority Notes: Figure entries present the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election by issue priorities. Distinctions between hard left and soft left Eurosceptic party support are based on the classifications in Table 6.1. The differences based on issue priorities are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

2016). The same might hold true for Eurosceptic parties on the left which are mobilizing anti-immigrant sentiment (Adler et al. 2014). Figures 6.8 and 6.9 show the distribution of support for soft and hard Eurosceptic parties split by the importance people attach to unemployment and immigration for left-wing and right-wing parties respectively. The lefthand panel shows Eurosceptic party support for those who find unemployment the most important, while the right-hand panel shows support among those who view immigration as the most important issue. Figure 6.8 shows that people who view unemployment as the most important policy issue are more likely than those who view immigration as the priority issue to support left-wing Eurosceptic parties. Also, they are more likely to support soft rather than hard left-wing Eurosceptic parties. This holds true even for exit sceptics who otherwise display a much higher likelihood to cast a ballot for a hard Eurosceptic party. 144

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Figure 6.9. Right Eurosceptic party support by unemployment and immigration as priority Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election by issue priorities. Distinctions between hard right and soft right Eurosceptic party support are based on the classifications in Table 6.1. The differences based on issue priorities are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: European Election Study 2014.

Figure 6.9 provides the same information but now for hard right and soft right Eurosceptic parties. The figure shows that support for hard Eurosceptic parties on the right is much more extensive when people view immigration as the most important compared to those who think unemployment is the main priority. This effect is most pronounced for exit sceptics, but is also considerable among policy and regime sceptics and even loyal supporters. The information presented in Figures 6.3 to 6.9 is in line with the idea that exit scepticism coincides with people supporting anti-EU parties, especially of the hard variety. I find less support for the idea that mixed types, policy and regime sceptics, support soft Eurosceptic parties. They do on the left, but not on the right. This could be an issue of supply. There are simply not as many hard Eurosceptic parties on the left. That said, one could argue that there would most likely be more supply if the demand were higher. There is no real way of solving this chicken-and-egg problem. What we do seem to find is that overall support for Eurosceptic parties is lower among those who hold 145

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more ambivalent EU attitudes, namely policy and regime sceptics. This supports the idea that more ambivalent Eurosceptic attitudes are less likely to trigger a behavioural response. Moreover, issue priorities matter. Exit sceptics predominantly care about immigration and thus support hard Eurosceptic parties on the right. Policy and regime sceptics are more diverse in their priorities and may support either soft left or hard right Eurosceptic parties respectively. I also find that loyal supporters who care very much about unemployment display some support for soft Eurosceptic parties on the left, while those who care more about immigration support hard Eurosceptic parties on the right. It is possible that this is more likely to be due to the left and right labels of these parties than their Eurosceptic stance. The role of issue positions will now be considered.

6.3 Do Issue Positions Matter? As a more rigorous examination of the reasons behind people’s decision to cast a vote for a Eurosceptic party, I regress the fact that someone voted for a Eurosceptic party or not on a set of socio-demographic variables (age, class identification, education, gender, and type of employment) and issue positions. These issue positions include people’s preferences for more national control, a restriction on immigration, a reduction in redistribution, and less state intervention in the economy. Moreover, in order to capture how much these issues inform the vote choices of loyal supporters, as well as policy, regime, and exit sceptics, I interact each of the types of support or scepticism with people’s stances on these issues. In order to account for differences in countries, I add country fixed effects for all 27 member states that were included. Note that I only include 27 member states as no Eurosceptic party stood for election in Malta in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Finally, given that the dependent variable is categorical in nature (either individuals voted for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European Parliamentary election or they did not), I use a logistic regression model. Presenting the results in terms of changes in the predicted vote probability for Eurosceptic parties should make it easier to interpret them. We have come to understand that different types of sceptics have quite different issue priorities and positions when it comes to different aspects of the integration process. The issue of migration, for example, seems to really matter for exit sceptics. In order to account for this, I aim to predict the likelihood of a Eurosceptic vote for the four types of support and scepticism and interact belonging to a type with people’s issue positions. Specifically, I consider people’s stances on migration, national control, redistribution, and state intervention in the economy. I interact people’s type with their positions on 146

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Figure 6.10. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on migration Note: Figure entries represent changes in the predicted probability of Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliamentary election based on people’s preferences about migration. Source: European Election Study 2014.

one of these issues while controlling for their stances on others as well as socio-demographics. Figure 6.10 presents the results for migration. People were asked to place themselves on an 11-point scale ranging from (0) meaning opposed to a restriction of migration to (10) indicating support for a restriction of migration. It is important to stress that this item refers to migration generally. I am not able to differentiate between intra-EU migrants and others. The results show that the effects of moving from the most pro-migration to the most anti-migration stance increases people’s likelihood of casting a ballot for a Eurosceptic party only among exit sceptics. The change in Eurosceptic party support when an exit supporter moves from the least to most antimigration position is 22 percentage points. This effect is both statistically and substantially significant. The effects for regime and policy are also positive, indicating that moving from a more pro-migration to a more antimigration stance increases the likelihood of voting for an Eurosceptic party, but these effects are not statistically significantly different from zero. We find virtually no effect among loyal supporters. This suggests that people’s migration positions play an important role in understanding the link between exit supporters and Eurosceptic party support, even when other issue stances are controlled for. 147

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Figure 6.11. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on national control Note: Figure entries represent changes in the predicted probability of Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliamentary election based on people’s preferences about national control. Source: European Election Study 2014.

The next step is to explore people’s views on national control. The survey asked about people’s views on national control in international affairs, and they were instructed to place themselves on an 11-point scale ranging from (0) little national control to (10) full national control. Figure 6.11 shows that moving from being least in favour of national control to being most in favour increases the likelihood of voting for a Eurosceptic party among exit and regime sceptics. There are no statistically significant differences for policy sceptics and loyal supporters. The change in predicted vote probability for a Eurosceptic party is 18 percentage points for exit sceptics and 12 percentage points for regime sceptics, respectively. These effects are, in the case of exit sceptics, slightly smaller than the effects based on views on migration, but they illustrate the importance of people’s feelings about national control in understanding voting behaviour in the 2014 European Parliamentary election. Interestingly, people’s views about migration and national control also played a major role in voting behaviour in the Brexit referendum, something that will be discussed further in Chapter 7. The next step is to consider the role of people’s redistribution preferences in understanding support for Eurosceptic parties. Figure 6.12 shows the change in the predicted probability of voting for a Eurosceptic party in the 2014 European 148

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Figure 6.12. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on redistribution Note: Figure entries represent changes in the predicted probability of Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliamentary election based on people’s preferences about redistribution. Source: European Election Study 2014.

Parliamentary election based on people’s views about redistribution. Respondents were asked whether they would like to see more or less redistribution by placing themselves on a 11-point scale from (0) for agreement with greater redistribution to (10) against more redistribution. Statistically significant effects are found across all four types, but in opposite directions. Among exit sceptics, a move from the most favourable position towards redistribution to the least favourable position increases the likelihood of voting for a Eurosceptic party, while such a change reduces the probability of a Eurosceptic vote among regime and policy sceptics as well as loyal supporters. The effect is the largest for exit sceptics with 17 percentage points, and smaller for the other types, around 5–6 percentage points. The effect for exit sceptics is about the same size as the effect for their views on national control, but it is smaller than those for migration. Finally, Figure 6.13 shows the change in predicted vote probability for Eurosceptic parties based on people’s views about state intervention in the economy. Here only the effects for loyal supporters are statistically significant; none of the results for sceptics are. When loyal supporters move from a prostate intervention to an anti-state intervention position, the likelihood of voting for a Eurosceptic party decreases by 6 percentage points which is similar to the effects found for redistribution among loyal supporters. Figures 6.12 and 6.13 show that the likelihood of voting for a Eurosceptic 149

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Figure 6.13. Change in Eurosceptic party support by views on state intervention in the economy Note: Figure entries represent changes in the predicted probability of Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliamentary election based on people’s preferences about state intervention in the economy.

party is somewhat shaped by people’s views about traditional left versus right issues, but not by very much. Preferences about state intervention in the economy do inform the decisions of loyal supporters, which indicates that they vote for Eurosceptic parties at least in part as a result of their left–right ideological stance. Taken together with the findings presented in Figures 6.12 and 6.13, people’s decisions to vote for a Eurosceptic party are primarily a result of concerns about national control and migration.

6.4 Summary and Implications The findings of this chapter indicate that support for hard Eurosceptic parties in the 2014 European Parliamentary election was most pronounced among exit sceptics. Exit sceptics primarily base their vote for these Eurosceptic parties on their preferences for more national control and restrictions on migration. As a result, they display a higher willingness to vote for hard Eurosceptic parties on the right of the political spectrum. The relationship between policy and regime sceptics and Eurosceptic party support is less 150

Going Hard or Soft?

straightforward. The benchmark theory would suggest that based on their ambivalent form of scepticism, support for soft Eurosceptic parties should be most pronounced among these types. I find only partial support for this expectation. While policy sceptics are, on average, equally likely to support hard or soft Eurosceptic parties, regime sceptics show a greater preference for hard Eurosceptic parties. Yet, the issue priorities of policy and regime sceptics are highly influential here. When policy and regime sceptics care most about unemployment, they are more likely to support soft Eurosceptic parties on the left; however, when they care mostly about migration, they favour hard Eurosceptic parties on the right. While the vote choices of regime sceptics follow their preferences for less migration and more national control and redistribution, those of policy sceptics seem to be driven predominantly by a wish for more redistribution. The evidence presented in this chapter underscores the importance of differentiating not only between supporters and sceptics, but also between different kinds of sceptics based on the benchmark approach. A close link exists between exit sceptics and hard Eurosceptic parties, especially those leaning to the political right. These voters seem to be driven especially by a fear of loss of national control and increased migration. For regime and policy sceptics the reasons for supporting Eurosceptic parties are less clear. The less straightforward relationship between policy and regime sceptics and the type of Eurosceptic party they support should not come as a surprise. I have already discussed the specific nature of ambivalent sceptics, those who like certain aspects of the EU but oppose others. The distinction between more unified and ambivalent attitudes is important as seminal work on opinion formation has demonstrated that attitudes characterized by such complexity are held with less certainty, and are retrieved from memory with more difficulty (see Zaller 1992; Huckfeldt et al. 2000; Alvarez and Brehm 2002). As a consequence, they are less likely to influence political behaviour (Basinger and Lavine 2005). This is exactly what the findings in this chapter demonstrate. Overall, these findings have important implications for our understanding of the European integration process and the way in which public opinion constrains the ability of governments to push it further. Domestic constraint is the notion that public scepticism, through its close link to Eurosceptic party support, narrows the manoeuvring room for national and European political elites aiming to push integration further. While at the time of the permissive consensus, elites were more or less trusted to do what is right for their countries in Brussels, nowadays an attentive public evaluates elite activities more closely, and with an increasingly sceptical eye. While loyal support provides the most favourable context for further integrative steps—as they are the least likely to vote for Eurosceptic parties—and if they do it mostly based on left– right concerns, exit scepticism significantly constrains policy choices for both 151

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national and European elites. This is because exit scepticism is associated with higher support for hard Eurosceptic parties who oppose the European project, and increasingly advocate exit referendums of the British variety. Policy and regime sceptics might present less of a headache for European and national political elites as they do not always display high support for hard Eurosceptic parties. That said, for those who care most about migration, hard Eurosceptic support is also substantial, especially for regime sceptics albeit not as high as for exit sceptics. Regime and policy scepticism provide governments with more mixed signals, with certain aspects of integration finding favour, but not others. While regime and policy sceptics care about a variety of issues, exit sceptics seem predominantly driven by concerns about migration. This often leads to a higher vote share for right-wing hard Eurosceptic parties. What does this mean for the future of the European project? Three challenges exist. First, greater electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties could constrain further moves towards integration and may jeopardize the future of the European project. It would makes ratification processes in parliament and via popular referendums very difficult. Governments faced with large shares of exit sceptics need to carefully consider if Treaty changes or more informal arrangements to further integration are feasible and worth pursuing. Second, when electoral support for hard Eurosceptic parties is high, governments might feel they need to pander towards these parties in order not to seem out of touch. This may fuel the development of greater exit scepticism. Third, government parties in countries with high levels of exit sceptics and successful hard Eurosceptic parties may find themselves confronted with a trade-off between effectiveness in negotiations in the Council and popularity at home. When loyal support is high, in contrast, government parties can expect prointegrative steps taken in Brussels to face little public backlash at home. In other words, further integrative steps that require Treaty ratification could prove not to be feasible, especially when elections are looming on the horizon.

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7 Brexit and Beyond Leave and Remain Preferences among Supporters and Sceptics

Win or lose this battle, we will win this war. We will get our country back, we will get our independence back and we will get our borders back. Nigel Farage, Kent, 23 June 2016

On 23 June 2016, against the recommendation of most political and economic experts, the British people voted to leave the EU. The result sent a shock wave through the political establishment and ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron who initiated the vote. The outcome has had grave economic and political consequences for the United Kingdom. In the weeks following the vote, over £100 billion were wiped off the London Stock Exchange, the British pound and the 10-year government bond yield reached record lows, and the country was stripped of its triple-A credit rating.1 Politically, the two major political forces in Westminister, the Conservative and Labour parties, found themselves in disarray over how to shape Britain’s relationship with the EU. The new Prime Minister Theresa May faced the daunting task of organizing the British exit from the EU whilst keeping her party and country together. The people of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London strongly supported EU membership while the remaining English and the Welsh did not. The aftershocks of this earthquake of a result were not restricted to the British Isles. They were also felt widely across the European continent. After the official result was announced, Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs in many

1 See ‘Brexit fears wipe £100bn off FTSE 100 in four days—business live’ on The Guardian’s website on 24 June 2016 for a summary.

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member states took to Twitter to celebrate ‘their’ victory. The Swedish Democrats tweeted ‘Congratulations to Britain’s people choosing independence! Now we are waiting for a #swexit!’2 Marine Le Pen added: ‘Victory for freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries.’3 Geert Wilders tweeted ‘Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum.’4 Beppe Grillo, founder of the Italian Five Star movement, wrote a blog post: ‘The Leave of the United Kingdom sets forth the failure of political communities facing austerity, and the egotism of the member states, incapable of being a community. . . . We want a Europe which is a “community” and not a union of banks and lobbies.’5 Emile Roemer, the leader of the Dutch Socialist Party, tweeted: ‘A sledgehammer blow for Brussels and the politicians that work towards a European superstate. Less Brussels, more democracy.’6 Other political leaders used the Brexit result to call for reform. Sarah Wagenknecht, leader of the Left Party in Germany, tweeted ‘#Brexit shows: The lobbycracy in Brussels has lost the backing of the people. #Europe needs to change or will decay.’7 Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister and Leader of Syriza, speaking at a party meeting blamed the outcome of the Brexit vote on Brussels’ politics of austerity: ‘As much as the decision of the British people saddens us, it is a decision that needs to be respected. We must not put the blame on the British people . . . when the borders remain open on austerity but stay closed for people.’8 Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos in Spain, suggested that the Brexit result was a sign that Europe needed profound reform: ‘This is a sad day for Europe. We need to alter its course. Nobody would leave a just Europe based on solidarity. We have to change Europe.’9 The Brexit vote was historic. It marked a new era in the process of European integration. Exit is possible. A population had decided to turn its back on the European project, and exit the EU. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated just after the vote: ‘There is no doubt that this is a blow to Europe

2

See https://twitter.com/sdriks/status/746218124140130308 (accessed 16 November 2016). See https://twitter.com/mlp_officiel/status/746209726673760262 (accessed 16 November 2016). 4 See https://twitter.com/geertwilderspvv/status/746199016128421889 (accessed 16 November 2016). 5 See http://www.ilblogdellestelle.it/la_ue_o_cambia_o_muore.html (accessed 16 November 2016). 6 See https://twitter.com/emileroemer/status/746211835855011841 (accessed 16 November 2016). 7 See https://twitter.com/SWagenknecht/status/746221237454544896 (accessed 16 November 2016). 8 For a short summary of Alexis Tsipras’ remarks, see Reuters, ‘Tsipras blames Brexit on austerity, deficiencies in EU leadership’, 26 June 2016. 9 See https://twitter.com/Pablo_Iglesias_/status/746233097419526144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw (accessed 16 November 2016). 3

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and to the European unification process.’10 Although the outcome has clear historic significance, the result itself is perhaps less shocking in light of what we know about EU referendum outcomes (for an excellent overview see Hobolt 2009). It is well established that referendums on European integration are very unpredictable (Franklin et al. 1994, 1995; Hobolt 2009, 2016). Moreover, as I have shown in the previous chapters, for a long time the British public were known to be Eurosceptic, and the share of exit sceptics in Great Britain was large long before the campaign started. Finally, unlike the mostly pro-EU government parties on the continent, the Conservative Party mainstreamed Euroscepticism and had done so for many years (McAllister and Studlar 2000; Gifford 2010; Heppell and Seawright 2012; Lynch and Whitaker 2013). Even though referendum outcomes are unpredictable, is it possible to establish patterns in the results? Do we find differences in remain and leave support across exit, regime, and policy sceptics, and loyal supporters? The first part of this chapter zooms in on the Brexit result. The next section puts these results in a larger context by examining support for remain or leave across the EU as a whole as well as a more in-depth look at eight countries: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The April and August 2016 waves of the eupinions survey will be used for this purpose. These surveys were conducted on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation (De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). Respondents were asked if they would vote remain or leave if a referendum on EU membership were held in their country today. The British results show that the intention to vote to remain in the EU was most pronounced among loyal supporters and least among exit sceptics. The differences between loyal supporters, policy and regime sceptics are small, and not statistically significant. Less support for remaining in the EU generally coincides with more sceptical views about foreigners and globalization, lower levels of education, and subjective class perception as well as residence in more rural areas. When I inspect the differences in remain support among exit sceptics and the other types, it seems to be a combination of more antiforeigner, anti-globalization, and anti-elitist sentiment. Examining the voting intention across the EU, including the eight countries considered in greater depth, shows that support for remaining a member of the EU is high within the EU. Yet, there are important differences based on people’s type of support and scepticism. Loyal supporters are most supportive of membership, and exit sceptics the least. In line with the benchmark theory, the chapter shows that the viability of an exit option matters. Support for remaining in the EU is especially low among exit sceptics in Austria, France, and the Netherlands. Moreover, in the EU as a whole I find that sceptics 10 For a short summary of Angela Merkel’s remarks and those of other government leaders following the Brexit vote, see BBC, ‘Brexit: World reaction as UK votes to leave EU’, 24 June 2016.

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residing in countries with low unemployment and a high quality of government are less likely to want to remain in the EU compared to those residing in contexts characterized by high unemployment and a low quality of government. Issue priorities and positions also matter. Sceptics who find migration the most important issue are less likely to report a preference for their country remaining in the EU. Among policy sceptics, remain support is only significantly lower for those who feel that the economy is the most important issue compared to those who find other issues more important. When it comes to issue positions, sceptics who think that there are too many foreigners in their country or that globalization is a threat are less likely to report that they wish their country to remain in the EU. When I control for other factors, it becomes clear that these effects are predominantly driven by exit sceptics. Finally, this chapter compares the support for remain between the April and August 2016 waves of the eupinions survey in the EU as a whole and for the five largest member states where there are more in-depth data in both waves, namely France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain. Although the data are not panel based, so I cannot make any causal claims (as it is not possible to rule out that influences other than Brexit might have intervened between both waves), support for remain is higher in the post-Brexit wave. This could suggest that as the costs of leaving manifested, and people witnessed the immediate political and economic fallout after the Brexit vote, the idea of leaving became less popular. In the context of these findings, the chapter concludes by discussing the possible consequences of the Brexit vote for referendums in other countries.

7.1 The Brexit Vote Do I find differences in support for Great Britain remaining in the EU among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics? In line with the benchmark theory, I would expect remain support to be most pronounced among loyal supporters and least among exit sceptics, while policy and regime sceptics should fall somewhere in between. Exit sceptics are those who view the policies and procedures in their country more positively than the EU. Due to this positive benchmark, they should display a greater willingness to risk leaving the EU. People will only be expected to take the risk of voting for Brexit when they perceive that their country could do as well, or even better outside. Hence, those who supported Great Britain leaving should also be more likely to fall in the exit sceptic camp, and display both negative EU regime and policy differentials. The reverse is likely to be the case for loyal supporters who view the policies and procedures at the EU level preferable to those at the national level. Are these expectations borne out by the data? 156

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Figure 7.1. Remain support among the four types, British respondents only Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in Great Britain who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016. The differences between waves are statistically significant at a p ≤ .05 level. Sources: eupinions April and August 2016.

Figure 7.1 displays the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in Great Britain who reported that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU. It shows these results at two different time points using data from the eupinions survey from April and August of 2016. The figure shows that while remain support was very high among loyal supporters at both time points—above 80 per cent—it was low for exit sceptics. Only roughly a quarter of exit sceptics intended to vote remain in April 2016, while this share decreased to 22 per cent in August 2016. Policy sceptics were quite positive about remaining in the EU in April 2016, and were even more so in August 2016, when EU membership support was up from roughly a little over 70 to a little over 80 per cent. The biggest increase in the intention to vote remain is found among regime sceptics. While in April 2016 a little over 50 per cent of regime sceptics indicated that they would vote remain, by August 2016 this figure had shot up to almost 20 per cent. So, while remain support seems to have decreased among exit sceptics between April and August 2016, for all other types there has been an increase in remain support. These findings indicate that sceptics who are ambivalent about the EU, those of the policy and regime variety, might have reacted most strongly to the political and economic uncertainty immediately after the vote. As the Prime Minister stepped down, the future of the British Union was uncertain, and the 157

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British pound plummeted to a historical low against the dollar. As a consequence, the alternative state started to look less beneficial compared to the status quo of EU membership. This seems to have mattered most for those who were not quite sure about change in the first place. In Chapter 5, I demonstrated that exit sceptics care very much about migration, and loyal supporters about unemployment, while policy and regime sceptics care more about unemployment but also about migration. In Chapter 6, I showed that these issue priorities influence Eurosceptic party choice, especially among policy and regime sceptics. It therefore seems important to explore how issue priorities shed light on our understanding of people’s preferences in Great Britain for remaining or leaving. In the eupinions survey, we asked respondents what they thought were the main challenges facing the world today and a majority of respondents viewed migration and the possibility of a new economic crisis as the most important. These results fit the issue priorities of respondents across the EU that were discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 using the 2014 EES data. Figure 7.2 displays the percentage

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Figure 7.2. Remain support among the four types by issue priority, British respondents only Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in Great Britain who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016 by issue priorities. The differences between issue priorities are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

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of remain support among the four different types, comparing those who view migration or the economy as the most important issue. The results show that for those respondents who view migration as one of the most important issues, the intention to vote remain is lower no matter which type of support or scepticism they belong to. The reverse is true for those who view the economy as the most important. These findings are interesting as the Remain and Leave campaigns both tried to influence people’s perceptions on both issues (Mosbacher and Wiseman 2016; Clarke et al. 2017). The Remain campaign, also coined Project Fear, painted a dark picture of a Brexit Armageddon characterized by economic meltdown and the collapse of the housing market. People were told to vote to remain in the EU as Great Britain alone would not be able to prosper in an increasingly economically interconnected world. The Leave campaign aimed to convince people that these doom scenarios were exaggerations and that Brexit would allow Britain to take back control over its own affairs and regulate migration flows. The Brexit campaign was very much a fight over which of the two issues were most important for Britain’s future. Immigration and the economy were also the core concerns listed by voters when asked about their reasons to vote (Hobolt 2016; Clarke et al. 2017). A multivariate regression analysis is now used for a more rigorous examination of the reasons behind people’s preferences for Great Britain remaining a member of the EU or not. I regress the fact that someone intends to vote remain or not on a set of socio-demographic variables (age, class identification, education, gender, and type of employment) and issue positions. On issue positions, the eupinions survey asked people if they thought there were too many foreigners in their country, if globalization was a threat or opportunity, and whether politicians were competent or not. I code anti-foreigner, anti-globalization, and anti-elite sentiment to reflect the people who responded that there were too many foreigners, that globalization constituted a threat, and that politicians were incompetent. The dependent variable is categorical in nature so I make use of a logistic regression model. To ease interpretation, I present the results of the regression analyses in terms of predicted probabilities to vote remain over leave. Figure 7.3 shows the marginal effect of moving a variable from its minimum to its maximum level while holding all other covariates at their mean, that is to say average, value. The dots represent the marginal effect and the line around them the 95 per cent confidence intervals. Let me give an example to explain how best to read the figure. Take anti-foreigner sentiment: for two hypothetical individuals who are average in terms of their sociodemographical background and type of support and scepticism, but vary in their anti-foreigner sentiment, the predicted probability of intending to vote remain in a membership referendum is roughly 35 percentage points lower for 159

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Types Policy scepticism Regime scepticism Exit scepticism Issue positions Anti-foreigner sentiment Anti-globalization sentiment Anti-elite sentiment Demographic controls Rural Female Working class Lower middle class Middle class Primary education Some secondary education Secondary education 18–25 26–35 36–45 46–55 Employed Unemployed Retired In school Disabled Professional worker –0.6

–0.4

–0.2 0 Marginal effects at mean

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Figure 7.3. Predicting remain support among the four types, British respondents only Note: Figure entries represent the marginal effect of a specific covariate while the others are held at their respective means (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions August 2016.

the individual who thinks that there are too many foreigners in the country. This effect is both substantially and statistically significant. The confidence intervals do not include the zero point on the x-axis indicated by the black solid line. If a confidence interval line crosses the zero line, it indicates that the effect is not different from what we would expect to find based on chance. I find equally substantive and statistically important effects for exit scepticism. While controlling for socio-demographic background characteristics and issue positions, exit sceptics are significantly less likely to vote remain, by roughly 30 percentage points, compared to loyal supporters. The effects for policy and regime sceptics are not statistically distinguishable from those of loyal supporters. It is important to note that the proportion of policy and regime sceptics in the British survey are overall not very large, and in consequence the confidence intervals are wide. The effects for anti-globalization sentiment are slightly smaller. Intending to vote remain decreases by roughly 17 percentage points when people think globalization constitutes a threat rather than an opportunity. There was no statistically significant effect for anti-elitist sentiment. 160

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In terms of demographics, the results show that subjective class identification and rural versus city residency affected people’s likelihood to vote remain. The eupinions survey unfortunately does not include any income or wealth measures, but subjective class perception should in part tap into differences based on wealth or income. The effects of identifying with the working, lower middle, or middle class versus the upper class are statistically significant and substantial, and very similar in size compared to those based on exit scepticism and on anti-immigrant and anti-globalization sentiment. The results also show that people in rural areas are less likely to vote remain. These issue and demographic effects dovetail other findings reported by Matthew Goodwin and colleagues (Goodwin and Heath 2016; Clarke, Goodwin, and Whiteley 2017) and Sara Hobolt (2016), for example. Their studies highlight that Brexit support was higher among working class voters who expressed concerns about immigration.

7.2 Remain and Leave Support in the EU Are there differences in the level of support for a country remaining in or leaving the EU among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in the EU as a whole? Figure 7.4 displays the share of respondents expressing a preference for their country remaining a member of the EU if a membership referendum were held today. The shares are based on the EU as a whole using the August 2016 eupinions data. It shows that support for one’s country remaining in the EU is high. Over 83 per cent of loyal supporters, and 80 and 82 per cent of policy and regime sceptics, respectively, report that they would vote for their country to remain in the EU if a referendum were to be held today. Even a majority of exit sceptics would vote for their country to remain: namely 63 per cent. Yet, the share of exit sceptics backing remain is much lower compared to loyal supporters or policy and regime sceptics. The eupinions survey consists of two parts, one that includes public opinion data representative of the EU as a whole, and one that includes public opinion data representative of specific countries. In the August 2016 wave of eupinions, the following countries were included: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain (next to Great Britain which was discussed earlier). Figure 7.5 provides the same information as Figure 7.4, but now for these eight EU member states. The figure shows the same pattern as before: loyal supporters are most likely to vote remain, followed by policy or regime sceptics, and exit sceptics are least likely to vote remain. Remain support among exit sceptics is very high in Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Spain. Here over 70 per cent of exit sceptics would vote remain. Moreover, in Poland almost all respondents 161

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Percentage supporting remain

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Figure 7.4. Remain support among the four types Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016. Difference between exit sceptics and other types is statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

that fall in the category of loyal supporters or policy sceptics would vote for their country to remain in the EU. A preference for remain among loyal supporters is also very pronounced in France, Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands. Figure 7.5 also seems to suggest that exit sceptics who reside in countries that are doing relatively well in terms of economic performance and quality of government are especially less likely to support remain. Remain support among exit sceptics is the lowest in France with 58 per cent, followed by the Netherlands and Austria at 64 per cent. The only exception is Italy, where remain support among exit sceptics is quite low at only 55 per cent. The Italian population seems to split when it comes to EU membership. 86 per cent of loyal supporters wish to remain, as do 72 per cent of policy sceptics, but only 54 and 50 per cent of regime and exit sceptics, respectively, would vote remain. The EU is a very divisive issue in Italian politics. The Five Star Movement in particular has voiced significant criticism of European bureaucracy and austerity. Although a referendum on EU or Euro membership is unlikely given the Italian constitutional arrangements, if it were called, the outcome of such a vote would be highly uncertain. 162

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Figure 7.5. Remain support among the four types across countries Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters, policy, regime and exit sceptics who indicated that would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016 in the countries listed. Except for loyal supporters and policy sceptics in Austria and Poland, the differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

7.3 The Importance of Issue Priorities and Positions A next step examines support for remaining in or leaving the EU among the four different types in the EU as a whole while taking into account people’s issue priorities and positions. Figure 7.6 shows remain support among the four different types, split by respondents who think that migration or the economy is the most important issue. Respondents who view migration as the most important issue display a preference for remaining, but the level is comparatively lower among exit sceptics. Except for policy sceptics, remain support is higher among those who think that the economy is the most important issue. 163

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Figure 7.6. Remain support among the four types by issue priority Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016 by issue priorities. The differences based on issue priorities are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

These results suggest that remain support is slightly lower among those respondents who view migration as a main priority for the years to come. I now inspect differences in remain support among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics based on their views about foreigners and their evaluations of globalization more generally. Note that the eupinions survey does not allow for a distinction between different types of foreigners based on their country of origin. It would have been interesting to compare opinions about EU migrants to those about other migrants, but this is not possible based on the available data. In the eupinions survey respondents were asked if they thought that there were too many foreigners in their country, answers ranging from too many to the number being about right. Figure 7.7 splits remain support among the four types based on the answers to this question. The left panel shows remain support among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think the number of foreigners in their country is about right versus those who think that there are too many foreigners in their country. The results show that support for one’s country remaining within the EU is considerably lower when respondents think that there are too many foreigners 164

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Figure 7.7. Remain support among the four types by views on foreigners Notes: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016 by foreigner sentiment. The differences based on foreigners are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

in their country. This is the case among all four types. While 94 per cent of loyal supporters back remain when they think the number of foreigners in their country is about right, only 78 per cent of loyal supporters who think that there are too many foreigners do so. There is a similar drop for regime sceptics. Regime sceptics who think that the number of foreigners is about right are much more supportive of their country remaining in the EU, at 92 per cent. This percentage, at 76 per cent, is much lower among regime sceptics when they think there are too many foreigners in their country. The difference for policy sceptics is slightly smaller: 85 per cent of policy sceptics who think that the number of foreigners is about right would vote for their country to remain an EU member, while only 78 per cent of those who think that there are too many foreigners would do so. Finally, the drop in support for EU membership based on anti-foreigner sentiment is steepest among exit sceptics. Only 55 per cent of exit sceptics who think there are too many foreigners would vote for their country to remain, while 79 per cent of those who think the number is about right would do so. Figure 7.8 paints a rather similar picture when it comes to support for one’s country to remain in the EU split by globalization sentiment. People who see 165

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Globalization as opportunity

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Figure 7.8. Remain support among the four types by views on globalization Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who indicated that they would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU in 2016 by globalization sentiment. The differences based on views on globalization are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

globalization as a threat are much less likely to display a preference for their country to remain in the EU. This should perhaps not be surprising as recent studies suggest that what people in Europe fear most about globalization is migration (see for example De Vries and Hoffmann 2016b). While 86 per cent of loyal supporters who view globalization as an opportunity would vote for their country to remain in the EU, only 80 per cent of those who are fearful of globalization would vote remain. Among policy sceptics, 84 per cent who embrace globalization would support remain, and 78 per cent of those who see globalization as a threat would do so. Of the regime sceptics who evaluate globalization positively, 86 per cent would choose for their country to stay in the EU, but only 74 per cent of those who see globalization as a negative development. The effect for exit sceptics is, as in the case of anti-foreigner sentiment, the most pronounced. Support for remaining in the EU among exit sceptics decreases by 30 per cent when globalization is seen as a threat rather than as an opportunity. The results presented in Figures 7.7 and 7.8 suggest that fears about migration and globalization more generally may decrease support for remaining 166

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in the EU. Yet, the figures so far do not control for other possible differences among supporters and the different kinds of sceptics that might account for these differences. Now I turn to a more rigorous examination of the reasons behind people’s preference for their country to remain in or leave the EU by relying on a multivariate logistic regression model. First, I regress someone’s intention whether to vote remain or not in a membership referendum on a set of socio-demographic variables (age, class identification, education, gender, and type of employment) and issue positions. As in the British case, I focus on anti-immigrant, anti-globalization, and anti-elite sentiment, and operationalize these as people who responded that there are too many foreigners, that globalization constitutes a threat, and that politicians are largely incompetent. In order to account for differences across countries country fixed effects are included. The dependent variable is categorical in nature, so to ease interpretation I present the results of the regression analyses in terms of predicted probabilities to vote remain over leave. Figure 7.9 shows the marginal effect of moving a variable from its minimum to its maximum value while holding all other covariates at their mean, that is Types Policy scepticism Regime scepticism Exit scepticism Issue positions Anti-foreigner sentiment Anti-globalization sentiment Anti-elite sentiment Demographic controls Rural Female Working class Lower middle class Middle class Primary education Some secondary education Secondary education 18–25 26–35 36–45 46–55 Employed Unemployed Retired In school Disabled Professional worker –0.15

–0.1

–0.05 0 0.05 Predicted probability change

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Figure 7.9. Predicting remain support Note: Figure entries represent the predicted probability change of a specific covariate while the others are held at their respective means (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions August 2016.

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to say the average value. In the case of anti-foreigner sentiment, for example, for two hypothetical individuals who are average in terms of their sociodemographical background and type of support and scepticism, but vary in their anti-foreigner sentiment, the predicted probability of intending to vote remain in a membership referendum is roughly 10 percentage points lower for the person thinks that there are too many foreigners in the country. In the cases of anti-globalization and anti-elitist sentiment, the effects are of a similar magnitude and direction. Holding a more extreme antiglobalization and anti-elitist position decreases the likelihood of respondents voting remain. While the effects for policy and regime scepticism are not distinguishable from those of loyal supporters, who serve as the reference category here, the effect for exit scepticism is. While controlling for socio-demographic background characteristics and issue positions, exit sceptics are still significantly less likely to vote remain compared to loyal supporters by roughly 10 percentage points. Overall, these results indicate that more ambivalent Eurosceptics, the policy and regime sceptics, are less likely to act on their Eurosceptic sentiment compared to those who are unified Eurosceptic, exit sceptics. This supports the findings for party choice presented in Chapter 6. Finally, in line with recent work by Armèn Hakhverdian and colleagues (2013) on the importance of education for EU attitudes, I find that the likelihood of voting remain is lower among those with lower levels of educational attainment. Respondents with primary or (some) secondary education are five to three percentage points less likely to vote for their country to remain in the EU compared to those with university education. Those who are still in school are more likely to vote remain compared to those who have already completed their university degree. In light of the British results presented earlier, I find that while class is very much an important factor for British respondents, it is education that is very important for continental European respondents. Similar to the British results, I find that exit scepticism, and anti-immigrant and anti-globalization sentiment decrease the likelihood of respondents’ intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum. I want to examine how these different issue positions informed the voting intention of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in a referendum on EU membership. To do so, I interacted the type of support or scepticism with people’s stances on the three issues previously mentioned: their views on globalization, foreigners, and politicians. Figure 7.10 illustrates the changes in the predicted probability of intending to vote remain in a referendum on EU membership on the y-axis for different views about foreigners on the x-axis. It shows these effects for loyal supporters and for policy, regime, and exit sceptics. The results are based on an interpretation of the correspondence between belonging to a particular type and a respondent’s anti-foreigner 168

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Figure 7.10. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-foreigner sentiment Note: Figure entries represent the predicted probability of voting remain in a membership referendum for a change in foreigner sentiment while the others are held at their respective means (dots) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions August 2016.

sentiment while controlling for stances on the other issues, and the sociodemographic factors already discussed. The figure shows that the predicted probability of intending to vote remain decreases as people display more anti-foreigner sentiment, but that the change is only statistically significant for regime and exit sceptics. While the predicted probability of intending to vote remain is roughly 80 per cent for exit sceptics when they think that the number of foreigners in their country is about right, it drops to 63 per cent for those who think that there are too many foreigners in their country. For regime sceptics, the predicted probability of voting remain is 93 per cent for those who do not think that there are too many foreigners in the country, while it is 77 per cent for those who do. The results for anti-globalization sentiment are very similar to people’s perceptions of foreigners (Figure 7.11). Anti-globalization sentiment decreases the likelihood of people intending to vote remain in an EU referendum. It does so across all four types, but only the effects for regime and exit sceptics are statistically significant. The effect sizes are very similar to those reported for antiforeigner sentiment. 169

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Loyal support

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Figure 7.11. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-globalization stance Note: Figure entries represent the predicted probability of voting remain in a membership referendum for a change in globalization sentiment while the others are held at their respective means (dots) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions August 2016.

Finally, I explore the effect of anti-elitist sentiment (Figure 7.12). As in the case of anti-foreigner and anti-globalization sentiment, anti-elitism decreases the likelihood of people intending to vote remain in an EU referendum. The effect exists for all four types, but it is only substantially and statistically significant for regime and exit sceptics. While exit sceptics who view politicians as competent are more likely to vote remain, at 81 percentage points, the support for remain is much lower, at 62 percentage points, among exit sceptics who view politicians as incompetent. The effect for regime sceptics is slightly smaller. Regime sceptics who believe politicians to be competent overall are very likely to vote remain (90 per cent), while regime sceptics who think they are largely incompetent are slightly less likely to do so (81 per cent). This effect is smaller compared to people’s attitudes towards foreigners and globalization. Overall, the findings presented in Figures 7.10 to 7.12 suggest that people’s views on the number of foreigners in their country, globalization, and political elites, inform the voting intention in an EU referendum of exit sceptics especially and, to a lesser degree, of regime sceptics. 170

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Figure 7.12. Predicting remain support among the four types by anti-elitist stance Note: Figure entries represent the predicted probability of voting remain in a membership referendum for a change in anti-elite sentiment while the others are held at their respective means (dots) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions August 2016.

7.4 Remain and Leave Support Post-Brexit In a final step, I compare remain support between the two waves of the eupinions survey that were conducted in 2016, one in April and one in August. In both waves the surveys deliver public opinion data for the EU as a whole and for the six largest member states which were studied in greater depth (De Vries 2017a). This allows an examination of how remain support developed after the British decided to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June 2016. As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the referendum was unique in the sense that one of the six member states with the largest population decided to leave the Union. In line with the benchmark theory of support and scepticism, I would expect that the political and economic uncertainty immediately following the referendum should set a bad precedent and lower people’s evaluations of the expected benefits associated with the alternative state to the status quo of membership. Although the verdict on the exact political and economic costs of Brexit is still out, the British example could make the alternative state of one’s own country leaving look less attractive. 171

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Figure 7.13. Difference in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016 Notes: Figure entries represent the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum in 2016. The differences between waves are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Sources: eupinions April and August 2016.

The fact that the pound has lost ground since the vote and inflation has pushed up the prices of utilities and groceries after the vote, as well as the increasing political uncertainty, and Scotland and Northern Ireland disagreeing with the direction taken by Westminster directly following the vote, could act as important deterrents against support for leaving in other countries. How did people’s intention to vote remain develop between April and August of 2016? Figure 7.13 shows the share of those intending to vote remain among loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics in both waves. The results suggest that there was indeed a slight increase in remain support among all four types. The increase was most substantial among regime sceptics followed by loyal supporters. While the share of those intending to vote remain was 63 per cent among regime sceptics in April, it was 84 per cent in August. Among loyal supporters the proportion of those backing remain was 85 per cent in April versus 95 per cent in August. The changes were less pronounced for policy and exit sceptics, albeit in the same direction. Remain support was 75 versus 81 per cent for policy sceptics, and 59 versus 66 per cent for regime sceptics in April and August. Figure 7.14 presents the same information, but now in terms of percentage point changes in remain support between April and August for each of the 172

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Change in remain support in %

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Policy scepticism Exit scepticism

Figure 7.14. Change in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016 Note: Figure entries represent the change in the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum between April and August 2016. Sources: eupinions April and August 2016.

four types. All changes were positive. We witnessed an increase in people wanting their country to remain a member of the EU after the Brexit vote. The changes were most pronounced for regime sceptics. Figures 7.15 and 7.16 provide the same information again, but now split by the five largest member states of the EU excluding Great Britain. This allows us to inspect the possibility of country differences. Overall, the findings suggest mild increases in remain support across all four types in the countries under investigation. In Germany and Poland, these are most pronounced among exit sceptics. Interestingly, the exception to this overall pattern is Spain, where we see a slight decrease in remain support. It is important to remember that in Spain support for the country to remain in the EU is among the highest within the EU as a whole. It is important to note that I cannot make any causal claims about a possible ‘Brexit effect’. The eupinions data is not based on a panel, so I cannot rule out that many things other than Brexit might have changed between both waves. What I can do is inspect if the changes are in line with the benchmark theory. The August 2016 survey did include a question asking respondents if they thought the consequences of Brexit for the UK would be good or bad. In line with benchmark theory, I would expect that the political and economic 173

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Figure 7.15. Remain support among the four types in April–August 2016 in five countries Notes: Figure entries represent the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum in 2016 for countries listed. With the exception of loyal supporters in France, the differences between waves are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Sources: eupinions April and August 2016.

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Figure 7.16. Change in remain support among the four types, April–August 2016 in five countries Note: Figure entries represent the change in the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum between April and August 2016 for countries listed. Sources: eupinions April and August 2016.

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Figure 7.17. Remain support among the four types by Brexit expectation Notes: Figure entries represent the shares of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics intending to vote remain in an EU membership referendum by their assessment that the consequences of Brexit for Great Britain will be bad or good. The differences based on people’s expectations about Brexit are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions August 2016.

uncertainty immediately following the Brexit vote should make the alternative state of one’s country being outside the EU look less attractive, especially among those who think that the consequences of Brexit will be bad. As a result, I would expect those who think that the consequences for Great Britain will be bad to be more likely to vote remain, and vice versa. Figure 7.17 suggests that this is indeed what we find. Support for one’s country to remain in the EU is much lower among those who think that the consequences of Brexit will be good, compared to those who think that the consequences will be bad. While 90 per cent of loyal supporters who think that Brexit will have bad consequences intended to vote remain, the figure was only 62 per cent for those who think the consequences will be good. Similarly, 84 per cent of policy sceptics and 88 per cent of regime sceptics who think that Brexit will have negative consequences for Great Britain would vote remain, compared to 57 and 59 per cent of policy and regime sceptics who think that consequences will be positive. Finally, while 72 per cent of exit sceptics who view the consequences of Brexit as bad for Great Britain voiced an intention to vote remain in a membership referendum, only 34 per cent of exit sceptics who view them as good would do so. 175

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7.5 Summary and Implications The findings in this chapter suggest that loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics have different preferences when it comes to the issue of their country’s membership in the EU. The exploration of the British and EU-wide results suggest that support for one’s country remaining an EU member is the most pronounced among loyal supporters, while it the least pronounced among exit sceptics. The differences between loyal supporters and policy and regime sceptics are much smaller and fail to reach statistical significance. Less support for remaining in the EU generally coincides with more sceptical views about migration, globalization, and the EU as a whole, and also with more anti-elite sentiment. Demographics matter as well. Among British respondents, leave support was higher among those with lower subjective class perceptions and those residing in more rural areas. Among continental European respondents, leave support is predominantly associated with lower education. Issue priorities are also important. Sceptics who think that migration is the most important issue for years to come are less likely to want their country to remain in the EU, while sceptics who view the economy as the most important issue are on average more likely to support remain, with the exception of policy sceptics. In line with benchmark theory, I find that remain support across the different types is mediated by national conditions. The analysis shows that support for remaining in the EU among sceptics residing in countries with low unemployment and a high quality of government is lower compared to those residing in contexts characterized by high unemployment and a low quality of government. Finally, a comparison of remain support between the April and August 2016 surveys suggests that support for leaving decreased in the post-Brexit period. Although one cannot make any causal claims as the data are not panel-based, this result could suggest that as the alternative state—one’s country being outside the EU—becomes more of a reality and the possible costs associated with leaving become clear, the perceived benefits of the status quo may begin to look better than they did. The question, of course, is whether these effects will persist; only time will tell. What are the implications of these findings? The results discussed in this chapter link to a debate among scholars aiming to explain voting behaviour in EU referendums. Much of this debate has been about the issues that determine people’s referendum choices. One explanation of voting behaviour in EU referendums suggests that voters use a referendum to signal their discontent with the government, or the political elites more generally (Franklin et al. 1994, 1995). This approach has strong affinities with the second order model of voting behaviour in European Parliamentary elections that was outlined in Chapter 6 (Reif and Schmitt 1980). Another explanation focuses on people’s attitudes towards European integration (Suine and Svensson 1993; 176

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Garry et al. 2005), and fits the EU issue voting model (De Vries 2007). Other scholars represent a middle ground between the two views suggesting that, depending on the clarity of elite cues and the salience of European affairs, referendum outcomes can be the result of both second order and issue voting concerns (Franklin 2002; Hobolt 2009). The findings presented in this chapter suggest that the latter view might indeed be most appropriate. I find that voters’ EU-related concerns as well as anti-elitist views affect their decision making in referendums. That said, I find that some of the strongest predictors, after demographics, are people’s type in terms of EU support or scepticism, and immigration and globalization fears. The latter two factors represent a general process of the internationalization of economic, political, and social spheres, but of course also have a clear affinity with deeper and wider integration in Europe. The findings in this chapter draw attention to the importance of the comparison between national and European conditions when attempting to understand referendum outcomes. The outcome of the 2016 Brexit vote was historic, but it was not the first time the British had been asked to vote on their country’s membership in the European Union. In 1975, less than two years after the country joined the European Communities, two-thirds of the British population voted to keep Britain in the Single Market (Butler and Kritzinger 1976; King 1977). While in 2016 the British economy was doing well in comparison to the European continent, and inflation and unemployment were low, the situation in 1975 was a complete contrast. Britain had been struck by a recession since 1973 and had experienced the miners’ strike the year before. The country was hit by power outages. In fear of more, the government was forced to introduce a three-day week, meaning that commercial users of electricity were limited to three specific consecutive days’ consumption of electricity. Meanwhile, inflation had reached doubledigit levels, 24 per cent, and many were unemployed (Denham and McDonald 1996). On top of all this, the country was experiencing a series of bombings by the Irish Republican Army. Against the backdrop of one’s country being economically and politically under siege, it is understandable that the grass looked greener on the other side of the channel. Domestic conditions looked far more positive in 2016. These varying national conditions are crucial for understanding the outcome according to the benchmark theory. The findings presented in this chapter should also be seen against the backdrop of post-Brexit developments in the EU. The EU is facing enormous challenges, some of the biggest since its existence. In the midst of the Euro and refugee crises, enthusiasm for the EU seems to be waning, support for Eurosceptic parties is on the rise, and the British decided to leave the Union for good. Following the Brexit vote, many commentators speculated if other countries would hold exit referendums. While Eurosceptic politicians like 177

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Geert Wilders in the Netherlands have since tried to push exit referendum bills through parliament, at the time of writing of this book none of these bills have passed. The results presented here would suggest that even if Eurosceptic politicians were able to call a referendum on membership—which is not easy given that most systems in continental Europe are based on coalition governments—the outcome is highly unpredictable. While over two-thirds of EU citizens intended to vote for their country to remain in the EU if an exit referendum were held in 2016, I find substantial differences in remain support across individuals. Exit sceptics in some countries, most notably Austria, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, show very little appetite for their country remaining in the EU. Although it is unclear if EU referendums will take place in these countries as mainstream parties currently hold parliamentary majorities, if they do the outcome is very uncertain. Given the contours of public opinion in these countries, Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs could, like the Brexit campaigners before them, construct positive national benchmarks and discredit the doom scenarios Remain campaigners might put forward. If that happens, the benchmark theory would suggest that exit referendums might actually become winnable. That said, remain support seems to have risen slightly across the EU following the Brexit vote. Although it is virtually impossible to disentangle a possible Brexit vote effect from newspaper reporting or party rhetoric directly afterwards, and to rule out other potential factors, I have shown that the more negative people think the consequences for Great Britain will be, the higher is their support for their own country to remain in the EU. This effect is especially pronounced among exit sceptics. It suggests that it is crucially important for the EU and the national governments of the remaining 27 member states to make sure that Great Britain leaving the Union does not set a precedent (see also De Vries 2017a). When the economic and political fallout turns out to be mild, and the deal the British government negotiates is perceived as better than membership, this might have grave consequences for leave support in other countries. In countries with relatively high levels of exit sceptics—at the time of writing of this book: Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden—having an example of how exit could be combined with continued trade links and immigration controls might turn out to be a gamble that a considerable number of citizens could be willing to take. Of course for many member states leaving the EU would also mean leaving the Euro. This arguably makes the transaction costs much higher, but then again, this is not the case for all member states; think of Sweden for example. The data also hint at the fact that the actions of political entrepreneurs might be important. Hard Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs can stir up an appetite for exit. Given that sceptics across the European continent, and especially those of the exit variety in countries that do relatively well, wish to tighten 178

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controls on migration and favour more national control, the possibility of a deal that would allow access to the Single Market while at the same time restricting the free movement of people and limiting EU influence could spark off further demands for exit referendums. Hard Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs are sharpening their knives and waiting for any such opportunity to emerge.

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Part V Public Opinion and The Future of European Integration

8 Change or Die? EU Reform Preferences among Supporters and Sceptics

This is a make-or-break moment for the European Union: the decisions we make today will determine whether Europe remains an area of stability, prosperity and freedom based on solidarity, responsibility and cohesion. Jose Manuel Barroso, 1 September 2012, The Hague

The Eurozone and refugee crises have pushed reform of the EU to the forefront of the political agenda. How can a Union of 28, or soon to be 27, member states with a population of over half a billion be reformed to best weather future crises and address current challenges? Finding an answer to this question is extremely difficult. For one, experts are divided. Some, such as former Commission economist Paul De Grauwe1 and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman,2 call for the creation of a political union that would aid the Euro in withstanding economic shocks and securing financial stability in the long run. Yet others, like Council president Donald Tusk for example, warn that the further pooling of sovereignty at the EU level might provoke a serious public backlash.3 Reform proposals range from a full-fledged political union to a partial repatriation of powers to nation states. Not only are the experts divided, the public is as well. Indeed, the previous chapters of the book have outlined a responsive yet divided public when it comes to Europe. Some segments of the public are more sceptical than others 1 On 17 June 2010, Paul De Grauwe wrote a short summary of his views on EU reform, ‘How to embed the Eurozone in a political union’ on the CEPR’s Policy Portal: see http://voxeu.org/ article/eurozone-needs-political-union-or-least-elements-one (accessed 29 November 2016). 2 On 20 July 2015, Paul Krugman wrote a column in The New York Times, ‘Europe’s Impossible Dream’, outlining his views. 3 For a discussion of Donald Tusk’s views on the rise of Euroscepticism, see The Telegraph, ‘Tusk blames “utopian” EU elites for Eurosceptic revolt and Brexit crisis’, 1 June 2016.

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about the status quo of EU membership, while others again are deeply conflicted about Europe. The rifts in public opinion that this book has uncovered are important as they delineate different people and different country contexts. Moreover, these types of support and scepticism are linked to very different forms of behaviour in European elections and referendums as Part IV of this book has demonstrated. Although journalists, politicians and pundits often argue that the public is increasingly sceptical of the European project, based on the findings presented in this book thus far some caution is in order. There is no such thing as Euroscepticism. There are very different kinds of sceptics with diverging issue priorities and positions as well as socioeconomic backgrounds. While some, namely exit sceptics, wish their country to secede from the Union, others, policy and regime sceptics, are ambivalent about Europe. These ambivalent sceptics differ amongst themselves based on their issue priorities and positions. We know that Eurosceptics are themselves deeply divided about Europe, but what we do not know is how these differences translate into preferences for EU reform. This chapter addresses this important question. Given the divided nature of public opinion, it is essential to carefully craft survey instruments that allow us to understand which types of reform Europeans actually want. In this chapter, I provide such a careful and in-depth examination of public support both within and across member states. I rely on data that was collected together with the Bertelsmann Foundation in July 2015 (De Vries and Hoffmann 2015).4 Based on a novel experimental approach to survey research, conjoint experiments, I examine the trade-offs that people make when considering reform proposals. Specifically, the conjoint experiment varies attributes of reform proposals along four dimensions: 1. The functional dimension: What type of European integration do EU citizens want? 2. The communal dimension: With whom do EU citizens want this integration? 3. The utilitarian dimension: How much are EU citizens willing to pay for this integration? 4. The institutional dimension: How do EU citizens want this integration to be governed? These different dimensions capture the most important trade-offs citizens face. Studying people’s reform preferences is of cardinal importance for our understanding of the future of the European integration process. Recent

4 Parts of this chapter draw on the report What Do the People Want? Opinions, Moods, Preferences of European Citizens, written by myself and Isabell Hoffmann (2015).

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referendum and election outcomes illustrate that political elites have often been out of tune with the public, and frequently lose track of the concerns and desires of citizens. Accusations that political elites are out of touch are often politically motivated, but they do act as a gentle reminder of why it is important to understand public preferences for reform in the first place. Only if political elites in Brussels and across European capitals provide a vision for the future that can be shared by a majority of Europe’s population, can political and economic reform prove to be sustainable. If political elites swiftly move further without the backing of the public, reform will most likely backfire. What kinds of EU reform do exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters prefer? In order to examine people’s reform preferences, I employ experimental conjoint analysis that originates from marketing and psychology research and was recently adapted to fit questions related to political science (Hainmueller et al. 2014). I map out reform proposals that vary in terms of their functional, communal, utilitarian, and institutional characteristics, and examine which combinations of these find the most support among European citizens. Specifically, I explore how these characteristics affect public support for EU reform by varying the features of each reform proposal. The results of this chapter suggest that people care about all aspects of reform, except for the number of member states. On average people prefer a Union that is cheaper, decides via citizen referendums, promotes economic growth, secures borders, and brings peace across the continent. Although I find important differences between the types of support and scepticism, all respondents support reform proposals with economic growth at their core. In order to explore people’s preferences about how to further shape growth in the EU, I examine their attitudes towards reform of the Single Market and the Euro in separate surveys. I find that among all types there is a feeling that economic reforms at the EU level are very necessary. Yet, loyal supporters and policy sceptics especially also feel that there is a pressing need for economic reforms at the national level. In terms of which specific reforms people wish to see, I find diverging views among different types of supporters and sceptics. The reform of the Eurozone seems a crucial first step for all respondents as well as reform of decision making structures at the European level. These findings are important as they provide European and national elites with a sense of which reform proposals are most likely to meet the approval of most citizens and will therefore be feasible to achieve. This chapter proceeds as follows. It first outlines the design of the conjoint experiment. Next, it shows the differences in reform preferences across the four different types of support and scepticism. Third, given that the results from the conjoint analysis indicate that economic growth is the most important issue for the vast majority of respondents, it discusses people’s preferences for Eurozone reform. Finally, the chapter concludes by summarizing its main findings. 185

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8.1 Measuring the Reform Preferences of Supporters and Sceptics Conjoint experiments, which were developed in psychology and marketing, consist of respondents ranking or rating two or more hypothetical choices, in this case reform proposals for the EU. These hypothetical choices have multiple attributes, that is to say they vary on different dimensions. The dimensions are defined by the researcher on the basis of the scholarly literature, and here refer to the functional, communal, utilitarian, and institutional dimensions. The objective of the conjoint experimental design is to estimate the influence of each attribute, for example the number of member states in the Union or the costs of integration per person per year, on the choices and ratings of the respondents. In order to make sure that alternative explanations are addressed, the political scientist Jens Hainmueller and his colleagues (Hainmueller et al. 2014) proposed a conjoint method using fully randomized designs. This approach has been corroborated in work on support for global climate agreements by Michael Bechtel and Kenneth Scheve (2013) or the work on support for EU bailouts in Germany by Michael Bechtel and colleagues (2014). Why is a conjoint experimental design so appropriate for examining public support for EU reform? Traditional survey research makes it difficult to trace complex and multidimensional attitudes such as preferences for EU reform. In addition, it suffers from well-known causal inference problems. Put another way, it is difficult to make causal claims about the effects of different dimensions on choice using the data that are available given that we do not know in which direction the causal arrow flows. Moreover, conjoints have been shown to track real behaviour. Validation studies have shown that conjoint experiments perform remarkably well in predicting real-world behaviour (Hainmueller et al. 2015). Hence, a conjoint experiment can help to maximize the external validity of findings. When it comes to multidimensional preferences, a fully randomized conjoint in which survey respondents compare different sets of two possible EU reform proposals and choose between them, allows for the assessment of the influence of different features of the proposed reform on respondents’ evaluations of them. One of the advantages of using a fully randomized design, that is randomizing the exact values on the different dimensions that feature in a reform proposal, is that the causal effect of the features of the reform proposals on public support are nonparametrically identified. This means that one does not need to rely on assumptions about the functional form that maps reform proposal features on support (see Hainmueller et al. 2014). The randomization also ensures that the treatment groups are comparable on observable and unobservable confounding factors, that is to say with respect to alternative explanations. For example, respondents might interpret some of the information provided 186

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differently, which could affect the extent to which their support for an EU reform proposal depends on its specific design features. However, because of the randomization applied to a large sample, any potentially confounding variables will be distributed uniformly across treatment groups. Therefore, these groups will remain comparable, which means the estimates of how different reform features affect public support remain valid even in the presence of differences in respondents’ subjective interpretations and beliefs. Which dimensions of reform are important, and which attributes do we want to vary? The conjoint experiments used here rely on four dimensions: functional, communal, utilitarian, and institutional. The functional dimension relates to the type of European integration people would prefer in the future. The communal dimension relates to with whom people want this integration to be organized. The utilitarian dimension relates to the costs people are willing to pay for the reform proposal. Finally, the institutional dimension relates to people’s preferences about how the integration should be governed. These dimensions represent some of the most important trade-offs that citizens face. Yet, until now they have not been systematically examined in the context of possible reform of the Union or in an experimental setting that would allow us to capture their causal impact. The functional dimension relates to the policies that the EU should be promoting (Moravcsik 1998). Studies that compared the preferences of elites and ordinary citizens for the policy content of integration are relatively rare, but those that exist show that while elites favour integration in policy areas such as trade and finance, to reduce costs and negative policy externalities, citizens would like EU policy making to concentrate on social policy and employment (Hooghe 2003; Müller et al. 2012). The communal aspect of European integration refers to the political community of the Union. From existing work we know that the degree to which citizens identify with fellow EU citizens from other member states affects the way they evaluate the integration process (McLaren 2002; Hooghe and Marks 2005). The utilitarian dimension relates to the price citizens are willing to pay for closer cooperation in Europe and follows from a cost–benefit approach to EU support (Gabel 1998). Finally, the institutional dimension relates to the way decisions are taken in the EU. Following work that suggests that the democratic deficit affects people’s views of European integration (Rohrschneider 2002), the decision making procedures in the Union should relate to support for EU reform. These four dimensions are at the core of the experimental results that this chapter describes. In the conjoint experiment embedded in the July 2015 eupinions survey, respondents were asked to choose between five sets of two hypothetical choices, in this case reform proposals for the EU. These hypothetical choices have multiple attributes, that is to say they vary on four different dimensions of European integration as just outlined. The goal here is to estimate the influence 187

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of each attribute of these dimensions on the choices and ratings of the respondents for a given reform proposal using a linear probability model. In order to make sure that alternative explanations are taken care of, we use the conjoint method based on fully randomized designs. So what does this mean exactly? Each respondent sees five sets of two different reform proposals that differ on the attributes of the functional, communal, utilitarian, and institutional dimensions and after each individual comparison is then asked the question, which proposal (A or B) she or he would choose. Table 8.1 provides an example of one set of reform proposals that respondents were asked to choose between. Table 8.1. Example of a choice in the conjoint experiment Dimensions

Option A

Option B

How much money should every person pay for the EU annually? Who should make decisions in the EU? How many member states should the EU have? What should the primary policy goal of the EU be? Which option do you prefer?

€63

€35

Elected EU president 28

National governments 6

Fight climate change

Reduce inequality

O

O

Table 8.2. Attributes of different dimensions Dimensions

Option A

Option B

Utilitarian How much money should every person pay for the EU annually? 5

€211 €107 €63 €35 €0

€211 €107 €63 €35 €0

Institutional Who should make decisions in the EU?

National governments Elected EU president European Commissioners European Parliament Citizens through referendums

National governments Elected EU president European Commissioners European Parliament Citizens through referendums

Communal How many member states should the EU have?

40 35 28 15 6

40 35 28 15 6

Functional What should the primary policy goal of the EU be?

Secure peace and security Reduce inequality Promote economic growth Secure energy safety Regulate immigration Fight climate change

Secure peace and security Reduce inequality Promote economic growth Secure energy safety Regulate immigration Fight climate change

5 The annual payment figures are derived from the author’s own calculations of contributions per capita (see also http://ec.europa.eu/budget/financialreport/2015/foreword/index_en.html).

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The order in which the attributes of the different dimensions were presented was fully randomized. This allows for an assessment of the influence of different features of the reform proposals, costs or number of member states for example, on how respondents evaluate a given proposal relative to another. The attributes of the different dimensions of the reform proposal are listed in Table 8.2.

8.2 Support for EU Reform Proposals Before I go into the differences between the various types of support and scepticism, I first inspect the support for reform within the EU as a whole. Interpreting conjoint results is less straightforward than the survey results presented so far in the book, but not really difficult. As one can see in Figure 8.1, which presents the conjoint results for the EU-28, the y-axis lists all the different features of each of the four dimensions: the utilitarian, institutional, communal, and functional. The x-axis shows the size of the effect of each attribute on the probability of a respondent supporting the reform proposal. For example, the effect of 15 member states or an annual contribution of €35 on the choice between one of the two reform proposals is presented.6 If the effect of an attribute is large and positive, this means that this attribute makes people more likely to choose the EU reform proposal. When the size of the effect is large and negative, this indicates that this attribute of the proposal makes people less likely to prefer the EU reform proposal. Note that the sizes of the effects are always presented with reference to the current status quo. That is to say, I present the effect of the different annual contribution with reference to the average annual contribution per capita; currently this is €0 for the EU as a whole. The effect of different decision making bodies is presented with reference to the European Parliament making decisions.7 The effect of a different number of member states is presented with reference to the current number of 28. And finally, the effect of different policy goals is presented with reference to the promotion of economic growth. What is important to take away from the graph is that if the size of the effect for a particular attribute, designated by the dot, takes on a value greater than 0, this indicates that people wish to see a change in the EU away from the status quo. When the size of the effect is smaller than 0, people prefer the status quo over the proposed reform. If the dots for an attribute fall on the x-axis zero line 6 This number equates to a change in predicted probability that a respondent would support the proposal based on estimates from a linear probability model. 7 The ordinary legislative procedure puts the European Parliament on a par with the Council when it comes to legislative decision making (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/external/html/ legislativeprocedure/default_en.htm).

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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.05 0.1 –0.15 –0.05 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.1. Support for EU reform in 28 member states Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

in the figures, this shows that people are indifferent about this reform and the status quo. The line around the dot provides the 95 per cent confidence interval. Figure 8.1 presents the conjoint results for the EU as a whole. The results show that people desire two changes to the current status quo: namely that decisions are taken by referendums rather than by the European Parliament, and that the EU focuses primarily on peace and security issues more so than economic growth. People are indifferent about raising the average contribution to €35 in the EU compared to the current level of €0 and about national governments or the European Parliament making decisions. In terms of the reforms that people oppose, I find that in terms of costs, people do not want to contribute much more to the EU annual budget than €67 per capita per year. When it comes to decision making, people are strongly opposed to more supranational influence in policy making. They oppose the notion of an elected European president or the Commission taking decisions and prefer the European Parliament to do so. In terms of membership, they strongly oppose a smaller Union, but interestingly are slightly less opposed to an EU with more member states, albeit that a preference for the EU of its current size is indicated. Finally, people prefer an EU promoting economic growth over other policy goals such as securing energy safety, combating climate change, 190

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or regulating immigration. They even favour a Union dealing with peace and security issues over a Union dealing with economic growth. Figure 8.2 provides an overview of people’s EU reform preferences split by country context. It pits respondents who are from countries that do relatively well economically and politically—they have unemployment levels lower Bad national conditions € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.15 –0.1 –0.05 0 0.05 0.1 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal Good national conditions € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.05 0.1 –0.15 –0.05 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.2. Support for EU reform in 28 member states by national conditions Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

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than the EU average and a quality of governments score which is higher— against those who reside in contexts that do worse in terms of economic and quality of government performance. Interestingly, Figure 8.2 shows that respondents residing in national contexts that do relatively well compared to the EU average want very similar things when it comes to EU reform compared to those from contexts that do relatively badly. Only two differences stand out. First, respondents residing in countries with a relatively good economic performance and a high quality of government are more likely to support reform proposals that allow for a greater role for national governments in EU decision making, while respondents from countries that do not perform so well in terms of unemployment and quality of government do not support such proposals. This should not come as a surprise in light of the benchmark theory presented in this book. I have already shown in Chapter 4 that people predominantly attribute policy responsibility to their own government. When national conditions are good, a larger role in EU decision making for the national government is likely to be favoured, but when conditions are bad the opposite is likely to be true. This is indeed what Figure 8.2 suggests. A second difference stems from the policy goals people would like to see the EU promote. Regardless of the country context, people would like the EU to focus on peace and security, but people residing in contexts characterized by relatively bad national conditions are equally in favour of reform proposals that focus on economic growth and social inequality. A reform that prioritizes addressing social inequality finds little support among those residing in countries with relatively good conditions. Figures 8.1 and 8.2 provide a first peek into people’s EU reform preferences and show that making decisions via referendums and making the EU focus more on peace and security are important reform considerations for the average citizen. Do we find differences in reform preferences based on people’s support or scepticism type? The four graphs in Figures 8.3 to 8.6 provide this information. I do not show the differences between the four types based on national conditions, as none of these effects turned out to be statistically significant. Figure 8.3 presents the conjoint results for loyal supporters. The figure shows that loyal supporters favour a Union that is cheaper in terms of annual contribution per capita, albeit they are indifferent between paying nothing or €35. They clearly oppose an increase in the annual contribution to a level of €107 or €211. In terms of decision making, they oppose the strengthening of supranational or intergovernmental bodies. They prefer the status quo of the European Parliament taking decisions to national governments, the Commission, or an elected European president. They strongly prefer an EU where decisions are made via citizen referendums. In terms of membership, they clearly oppose a small EU of only six member states, while they are only 192

Change or Die? Loyal support € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.05 –0.15 –0.05 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.3. Support for EU reform among loyal supporters in 28 member states Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

slightly negatively predisposed to an EU that comprises 15, 35, or 40 member states compared to the current 28. In terms of the policy goals that the EU should pursue, they strongly favour peace and security over economic growth even more so than was the case for the average European. They favour an EU that focuses on growth over social inequality, immigration, or climate change. Turning to policy sceptics (Figure 8.4) they are more indifferent about the costs of integration. They are equally likely to support a reform proposal including a €35 or €67 contribution, and only slightly opposed to a contribution of €107. Interestingly, they do not favour decisions made via referendums over the current status quo of the European Parliament making decisions. They do oppose reforms that would make decision making more supranational, that is to say with a stronger role for the Commission or even an elected European president. Policy sceptics are largely indifferent between the European Parliament, national governments, or the Commission taking decisions. They are wary of an EU that is smaller, or larger than 35 members, but indifferent between a Union of 35 or 28 members. In terms of policy goals that the EU should pursue, peace and security is highest on the agendas of policy sceptics followed by economic growth. In the same way as loyal supporters, they would be less in favour of an EU focusing on social inequality, immigration, or climate change over economic growth. 193

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Policy scepticism € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.1 –0.2 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.4. Support for EU reform among policy sceptics in 28 member states Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

When it comes to regime sceptics (Figure 8.5), they are largely indifferent about the costs and decision making procedures in the EU. I find larger effects for size: they oppose a bigger or smaller Union, but these effects are not statistically significant. Moreover, regime sceptics also seem to be indifferent about the policy goals that the EU should pursue, or to put it another way, they care about all the goals equally to economic growth. For exit sceptics, I find that their strongest preference for a change relates to the decision making procedures. The results for exit sceptics are provided in Figure 8.6. They favour the use of citizen referendums and a stronger role of national governments over decision making by the European Parliament. Like loyal supporters, they prefer an EU that is cheaper, and they feel this even more strongly. They are, however, indifferent between paying nothing or €35 to €67. Interestingly, they seem largely indifferent about the size of the EU. When it comes to policy preferences, they differ from other types in that they are indifferent about an EU that focuses on economic growth or one that prioritizes peace and security, but they favour an EU that focuses on a restriction of immigration equally to one that focuses on security and economic growth. Given that we found that exit sceptics care deeply about migration, a strong preference for an EU that secures borders and restricts migration should not come as a huge surprise. 194

Change or Die? Regime scepticism € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.1 0.2 –0.2 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.5. Support for EU reform among regime sceptics in 28 member states Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

Exit scepticism € 211 € 107 € 67 € 35 National governments Elected European President European Commission Citizen referendums 6 members 15 members 35 members 40 members Peace & security Social inequality Energy safety Immigration Climate change –0.1 0 0.1 0.2 –0.2 Change in probability of voting for reform proposal

Figure 8.6. Support for EU reform among exit sceptics in 28 member states Note: Figure entries represent the change in predicted probability of support for an EU reform proposal (dot) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (lines). Source: eupinions July 2015.

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8.3 Eurozone Reform Preferences The results thus far indicate that people who can be classified as exit, regime, or policy sceptics or loyal supporters differ in various respects, but they also share some reform preferences. What all types have in common is that they support a Union that focuses on economic growth. The Single Market and currency have been important tools for facilitating intra-EU trade. Yet, in the midst of the Eurozone crisis they have also become contested (see for example Stiglitz 2016). In order to examine people’s reform preferences further, I now explore support for proposals about how Eurozone governance should be reformed. Note that the analysis includes respondents from all EU member states not only those from the Eurozone, as the economic governance of the EU affects all member states, not just those in the Eurozone. First, I turn to people’s evaluations of the need for economic reforms in their country and within the EU/Eurozone. On a scale from 0 to 3, people were asked about the necessity of economic reforms where 0 indicates ‘not very necessary’ and 3 ‘very necessary’. Figure 8.7 shows that people think that economic reforms are quite necessary, but at the national level as well as at

Need for reform

3

2

1

0

Loyal

Policy Eurozone reform

Regime

Exit

National reform

Figure 8.7. Support for economic reform among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that economic reform of the Eurozone or of their country is needed. Except for loyal supporters, the differences between European and national reform preferences are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

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the EU level. I find an interesting variation across the four different types of support and scepticism. While loyal supporters and policy sceptics view economic reforms at the EU level as equally necessary compared to the national level, regime and exit sceptics view the need for reforms at the EU level as more pressing compared to reforms at the national level. Given that these respondents hold quite favourable national regime evaluations vis-à-vis EU evaluations, and in the case of the exit sceptics, more favourable national evaluations about both the policies and procedures relative to European ones, this result fits the benchmark theory of EU public opinion. Figure 8.8 shows that the differences between types of support and scepticism are most pronounced among respondents residing in country contexts where economic and quality of government conditions are relatively good. Exit sceptics, especially, residing in these conditions, but to a lesser degree also regime sceptics, view EU reforms as more pressing compared to national ones, while loyal supporters and policy sceptics do not. How do sceptics and supporters view the future of the Eurozone? Respondents could choose from three options to express their expectations about the future of the Eurozone in the coming ten years: (1) ‘the Euro will break up’, Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Need for reform

3

2

1

0

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

Eurozone reform

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

National reform

Figure 8.8. Support for economic reform among the four types by national conditions Note: Figure entries represent the share of of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that economic reform of the Eurozone or of their country is needed by national conditions. The differences between conditions are statistically significant at a p0.05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

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Eurozone in 10 years?

60

40

20

0

Loyal

Policy

Euro break up

Regime Euro in crisis

Exit Strong Euro

Figure 8.9. Expectations about future of Eurozone among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters, policy, regime and exit sceptics who think that one of the listed future scenarios for the Eurozone is most likely. The differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

(2) ‘the Eurozone will still be in crisis’, and (3) ‘there will be a strong Euro’. Figure 8.9 shows the share of exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters who back any of these options. The largest share of exit, regime, and policy sceptics and loyal supporters think that the Eurozone will still be in crisis ten years from now, and loyal supporters think that this is the most likely future scenario. While a substantial share of regime and policy sceptics think that the Euro will be a strong currency in ten years, a smaller share of loyal supporters and exit sceptics have the same view. In fact, a substantial portion of exit sceptics holds quite negative expectations about the future of the Euro. Close to a third of exit sceptics think the Euro could break up. The share of loyal supporters, policy, and regime sceptics who think this is the case is much smaller. When I examine the differences between the expectations about the future of the Eurozone among respondents residing in countries that do relatively well compared to those in countries that do worse in terms of economic and political performance (Figure 8.10), it becomes clear that those residing in contexts where national conditions are relatively bad are more negative about the future prospects of the Euro than those residing in countries with better national conditions. Among exit sceptics residing in countries that are not doing that well comparatively, a large proportion—over 35 per cent— think that the Euro will break up. Interestingly, a large proportion of sceptics 198

Change or Die? Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Eurozone in 10 years?

60

40

20

0

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Euro break up

Exit

Loyal Euro in crisis

Policy

Regime

Exit

Strong Euro

Figure 8.10. Expectations about future of Eurozone among the four types by national conditions Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters, policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that one of the listed future scenarios for the Eurozone is most likely by national conditions. The differences between conditions are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

from county contexts that do relatively well in terms of quality of government and unemployment think that the Euro will be a strong currency in ten years from now. In a next step, I examine what people think should be done in order to reform the Eurozone. The survey consisted of two questions asking if people thought a designated Eurozone budget and finance minister would be useful. Answers to these questions ranged from (0) indicating that this would ‘not be very useful’ to (3) that it would be ‘very useful’. Figure 8.11 shows the distribution of answers across the four different types of support and scepticism, while Figure 8.12 pits respondents from countries that do worse in terms of unemployment and quality of government compared to the EU average against those from countries that do better. Figures 8.11 and 8.12 show that a designated Eurozone budget and finance minister are supported, but slightly more so among loyal supporters, and policy and regime sceptics than exit sceptics, although the differences are not large. I do find, however, that exit sceptics who live in countries that do relatively badly compared to the EU average are the least enthusiastic about the idea of 199

Would be useful?

3

2

1

0

Loyal

Policy Eurozone budget

Regime

Exit

Eurozone finance minister

Figure 8.11. Support for Eurozone budget and finance minister among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that a Eurozone budget or finance minister is most useful. The differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

Would be useful?

3

2

1

0

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

Eurozone budget

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit

Eurozone finance minister

Figure 8.12. Support for Eurozone budget and finance minister among the four types by national conditions Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that a Eurozone budget or finance minister is most useful by national conditions. The differences between conditions are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

Change or Die?

a Eurozone budget and finance minister. These findings together with the previous ones suggest that among sceptics, especially of the exit variety, in countries that do not do well in terms of unemployment and quality of government the future of the Euro as well as the prospect of reform is viewed very pessimistically. Could this perhaps reflect different preferences about how the EU should respond to member states in financial difficulty? Figures 8.13 and 8.14 explore this possibility. In the eupinions survey of July 2015, people were asked how the EU should deal with a member state in financial difficulty. Should the member state ‘exit the Euro’, ‘receive financial assistance’, or secure ‘some form of debt relief ’. Figure 8.13 shows that while the largest share of policy and regime sceptics would favour some financial assistance, the majority of exit sceptics and loyal supporters think that the country should exit the Euro. Interestingly, Figure 8.14 shows that the support for exiting the Euro among exit sceptics and loyal supporters is high regardless of the national conditions respondents face. Support for some form of financial assistance is higher among policy and regime sceptics who reside in contexts that do relatively well. This might reflect the fact that in these conditions governments could more likely afford to provide this kind of assistance.

Percentage

60

40

20

0

Exit scepticism

Loyal support

Exit Euro

Policy scepticism

Receive assistance

Regime scepticism Debt relief

Figure 8.13. Support for EU response to member state in financial difficulty among the four types Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that a member state in financial difficulties should either exit the Euro, or receive financial assistance or debt relief. The differences between types are statistically significant at a p  .05 level. Source: eupinions April 2016.

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Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration Bad national conditions

Good national conditions

80

Percentage

60

40

20

0

Exit

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Exit Euro

Exit

Receive assistance

Loyal

Policy

Regime

Debt relief

Figure 8.14. Support for EU response to member state in financial difficulty among the four types by national conditions Note: Figure entries represent the share of loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics who think that a member state in financial difficulties should either exit the Euro, or receive financial assistance or debt relief by national conditions. Source: eupinions April 2016.

The exploration of Eurozone reform preferences suggests that the European public would like to see economic reforms at the EU level and think that a designated Eurozone budget and finance minister could be quite useful. At the same time, however, the public is divided. For example, exit and regime sceptics think that Eurozone economic reforms are urgently needed, while loyal supporters and policy sceptics think that Eurozone economic reforms are as necessary as national ones. Supporters and sceptics also disagree about what should be done to help individual member states who face financial difficulties. Interestingly, both exit sceptics and loyal supporters think that a country should exit the Euro when it is in financial trouble. Policy and regime sceptics, especially in countries that do relatively well, wish to see more financial assistance provided by the EU to aid countries in financial trouble.

8.4 Summary and Implications This chapter has examined people’s reform preferences in two ways. First, it explored the different trade-offs that people might face when confronted with 202

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EU reform, and second it documents the preferences for Eurozone reform in greater depth. Overall, I find both important similarities as well as differences between loyal supporters and policy, regime, and exit sceptics. When it comes to EU reform as a whole, I find that exit sceptics wish to see reform that would allow national governments and citizens via referendums to take more decisions. Moreover, for exit sceptics the EU should in future focus on restricting migration as well as securing economic growth. Achieving both goals simultaneously, as I have already argued in previous chapters, may prove a real challenge. Loyal supporters would support reforms that focus policy more on peace and security issues and would allow for decision making via citizen referendums. Policy sceptics also care greatly about peace and security policies as well as economic growth, but they favour referendums equally to decision making via the European Parliament. Regime sceptics do not display very pronounced reform preferences. The different types agree that securing economic growth is of vital importance. Moreover, they all think that the Eurozone should be reformed. Exit and regime sceptics think that these reforms are urgently needed, while loyal supporters and policy sceptics think Eurozone economic reforms are needed just as much as national reforms. Which Eurozone reforms would find people’s approval? I find that loyal supporters and exit sceptics wish to see a tougher stance in EU dealings with member states that are in financial trouble, while policy and regime sceptics are in support of the EU providing more financial assistance. Interestingly, the largest share of exit sceptics and loyal supporters, regardless of the quality of national conditions, think that a country should exit the Euro when it is in financial trouble. Support for EU financial assistance is especially high among policy and regime sceptics particularly in countries that do relatively well. This suggests that policy and regime sceptics might be ambivalent about Europe because they wish to see it reformed. They do not seem to want less Europe, but more. These findings are important as they provide European and national elites with at least something of an idea about the public reception of possible reforms. Previous reform efforts, such as the Constitutional Treaty for example, were developed largely in a vacuum of public opinion. The previous chapters have shown that this is no longer possible. Hence, mapping public support for reform proposals is key. People differ when it comes to reform preferences, but all agree that the reform of the Eurozone seems to be a crucial first step. A reform of decision making structures at the EU level that would allow for more national scrutiny is also of key importance. It finds approval with all the different types of supporters and sceptics.

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9 Conclusion A Divided Public, a Divided Union: Where Do We Go from Here?

We cannot push the project over the edge by pushing for more Europe. We are losing the population in the process. Mark Rutte, 11 December 2016, The Hague

The EU is facing turbulent times. It is plagued by deep divisions and conflicts within and alongside its borders. Over half a century of integration has created a profound interconnectedness between the political, economic, and social fates of member states. At the same time, however, the fortunes of member states have diverged dramatically. The Eurozone crisis has unmasked deep structural imbalances within the Union, especially between Northern and Southern Euro members. These differences existed before the onset of the crisis, but have deepened further as a result of it. In addressing current economic and political challenges, the EU needs to reconcile radically different views about the appropriate scope and depth of integration that exist both across and within member states. At the same time, it needs to secure and revive public support for the European project to make its future sustainable. Acting collectively when the economic and social costs of the crisis diverge tremendously across the Union has proved to be a tall order. On the one hand, the Eurozone crisis accelerated integration by introducing the Fiscal Compact, Six Pack, Two Pack, or European Stability Mechanism that motored economic integration ahead in the Eurozone (Giddens 2013; Hix 2015). On the other hand, scholars, such as Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz (2016), have provided damning criticisms of the EU’s handling of the crisis, and openly wonder if and how the Euro can be saved. The recent political, social, and economic turmoil has also pitted member states against each other. In the Greek and German newspapers, for example, the Greek bailout was surrounded by a

Conclusion

heated debate about the possibility of German war reparations to Greece.1 In Italy, a newspaper owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s media group ran the headline ‘Fourth Reich’ to express discontent about German leadership in the Eurozone crisis.2 The political faultlines are widening. Today they crosscut the continent from North to South on the economy and austerity, and from East to West on migration and human rights. This book has provided a lens through which to understand the developments in public opinion in response to these recent challenges. I have demonstrated that EU public opinion represents a kaleidoscope that closely reflects the national conditions in which people find themselves. In other words, people’s attitudes towards the EU are framed by the national circumstances in which people live and their evaluations of these conditions. The benchmark theory provides both a comprehensive contextual and individual level mechanism of how national and European evaluations are linked and interact to produce specific voting patterns and party support in elections and referendums. This book has provided a deep insight into how public opinion, and especially Euroscepticism, is linked to national conditions and people’s evaluations of these conditions and what possible consequences public opinion might have for the future of the European project.

9.1 The Main Contributions of the Book This book has introduced a benchmark theory of EU public opinion. The theory suggests that the way people evaluate the EU is crucially dependent on the national context in which people find themselves. Support and scepticism depend on a comparison of the benefits of the status quo of EU membership with those associated with the alternative state, one’s country being outside the EU. This comparison is what I have coined the EU differential. Due to the fact that the benefits of the alternative state are largely unknown, people rely on their evaluations of the way the national political system operates and the policy outcomes it produces instead. Euroscepticism develops in contexts that do relatively well economically and politically as well as among those who evaluate national political and economic performance positively. When economic and political conditions are good, or at least are perceived as such, people view the benefits of the alternative state as 1 For a journalistic discussion of the topic in the British media, see BBC, ‘Does Germany owe Greece wartime reparations money?’, 7 April 2015. 2 The headline ‘Fourth Reich’ was first featured along with a very unflattering picture of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an editorial of Il Giornale on 3 August 2012, and again used in many articles about the Eurozone crisis and bailout programmes in the years 2014 through 2016 by the same newspaper.

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greater than those of EU membership—the status quo. People perceive that a viable exit option to membership exists; as a result, Euroscepticism will be higher. When national economic and political conditions are bad, or perceived as such, the benefits from the status quo of membership will be larger than those associated with the alternative state. No viable exit option to membership exists; as a result, EU support will be higher. The fact that Euroscepticism is higher in areas of the Union that are doing well both in economic and quality of government terms, and lower in areas that perform worse is because people attribute responsibility for these conditions, good or bad, primarily to national governments rather than to the EU. This is a process I have labelled proximate responsibility attribution. The benchmark theory also suggests that it is not sufficient to conceptualize public opinion in a one-dimensional manner. People’s opinions about the status quo and alternative state vary not only in degree, that is to say how much they support or oppose both, but also in kind, that is to say which elements they support or oppose. Following the distinction between the substantive and procedural aspects of representative democracy as developed by Robert Dahl (1998), the benchmark theory suggests that it is crucial to distinguish between people’s policy and regime evaluations. While regime evaluations relate to people’s assessments of the way in which the rules and procedures, as laid down in the various Treaties or national constitutions, operate in practice, policy evaluations refer to people’s judgements of the content of collective decisions and actions that are taken at the European or national level. Policy evaluations refer to people’s perceptions of the degree to which a political system helps to deliver the goods and services they prefer, and thus reflect on how the system performs in terms of policies and outcomes. Regime evaluations relate less to the public goods and services provided by the system today, but more to the process that will yield them in the future. People might like the policies, but disapprove of the system that produces them, and vice versa. This is important as it allows for a distinction between different kinds of support and scepticism that have different determinants and consequences. Overall, the benchmark theory conceptualizes EU attitudes as both multilevel and multidimensional in nature. Based on these characteristics, the book introduced a typology of support and scepticism. Specifically, it distinguishes between four types: Loyal Support, Policy Scepticism, Regime Scepticism, and Exit Scepticism. Exit scepticism characterizes the most EU sceptical of citizens. Exit sceptics perceive the alternative state, their country being outside the EU, as preferable over the status quo of membership both in terms of policies and regime. The opposite of exit scepticism is loyal support. Loyal supporters perceive the regime and policy benefits of EU membership to be greater than those associated with the alternative state. Regime and policy scepticism lie in 206

Conclusion

between these two extremes. While regime sceptics evaluate the way the rules and procedures operate at the EU level as less positive compared to the national level, they feel that EU membership entails significant policy benefits. The reverse holds for policy sceptics. Policy sceptics are wary of current and past public good provision and policies at the EU level. At the same time, however, they feel that the way the rules and procedures operate at the EU level is preferable to the national level. Moreover, while loyal supporters and exit sceptics hold unified attitudes, policy and regime sceptics are ambivalent about the EU. This distinction is important because the book has demonstrated that people who hold more ambivalent attitudes are less likely to act on them in elections or referendums. Moreover, they hold diverse issue priorities and positions as well as reform preferences. If these different types of support and scepticism are ignored, we fail to properly understand what people want from Europe and how they will act in elections and referendums. Overall, this book has demonstrated that the demographic profiles and issue priorities and positions of the different types are starkly divergent, and that belonging to each of the types has very different behavioural consequences. Figure 9.1 provides a summary of the most important differences between the four different types that have been uncovered in this book. Not only are people’s opinions about the EU diverse and related to the national conditions in which people find themselves, they are also highly responsive. This book has demonstrated that people update their attitudes in light of changes in real-world conditions and events. This is important as elites may not be immediately aware of policy failures, and will need to, at least in part, rely on public dissatisfaction to be responsive (see for example Wlezien 1995; Erikson et al. 2002; Soroka and Wlezien 2010). This may hold especially true for the EU which is characterized by a higher level of technocratic governance compared to the national level (Føllesdal and Hix 2006). When public opinion is responsive, it will allow political elites to craft policies that are more closely aligned with what the public wants, and support for European policy making and institutions should increase as a result. Importantly, however, the book also demonstrated that people do not only update their attitudes in line with EU related events, but also in response to national ones which are arguably largely outside the control of EU public officials. Euroscepticism can thus also arise in response to changes in national policies and the regime. This suggests that an important way in which EU officials can fight Euroscepticism is to make sure that people are aware of the added value of the EU and how it complements rather than replaces policy making at the national level. Finally, the book has demonstrated that the differences based on sociodemographic background, issue priorities, and behaviour in elections and 207

Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Loyal supporter

Policy sceptic

• Who? • Who? • Female with average education • Male with slightly lower who is financially anxious education who is not very residing in countries with financially anxious residing in relatively low quality of countries with relatively low government and high quality of government and unemployment high unemployment • Where? • Highest share in Poland, Slovenia, and Spain • Biggest increase since 2008 in Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland • What? • Unemployment is issue priority • Pro-redistribution and indifferent about migration

• Where? • Highest share in Czech Republic, Ireland, and Hungary • Biggest increase since 2008 in Finland and Spain • What? • Unemployment is issue priority, but immigration also • Somewhat sceptical of redistribution and migration

• How? • 83% vote remain and 23% support Eurosceptic party, mostly of soft left type • Supports EU that focuses on economic growth and security that decides via citizen referendums • Demands economic reforms at national and EU level and a tougher stance on member states in financial trouble

• How? • 80% vote remain and 24% support Eurosceptic party of hard or soft right type • Supports EU that focuses on growth and security with decision making via EP • Demands economic reform at EU and national level and financial assistance to member states

Figure 9.1. Summary of the differences between the four types

referendums between types of supporters and sceptics have widened during the Eurozone crisis. This makes sense based on the benchmark theory. The political, social, and economic differences between member states have been exacerbated in the context of the crisis (see Giddens 2013; Stiglitz 2016 for example). This makes people’s experiences with the EU diverge even further. These developments have given rise to varying demands for policy and EU reform. The findings are important for the future of the European project because they suggest that it will be very difficult to craft one-size-fits-all policies that will satisfy ‘the public’. The divides in public opinion this book has uncovered closely mirror the structural imbalances that came to the fore in the Eurozone crisis. To briefly summarize, this book has demonstrated that people’s EU attitudes (a) reflect the diverse national conditions in which people find themselves, (b) move in predictable ways in response to events at both the national and EU level, (c) differ strongly in terms of their policy demands and expectations about how multilevel governance in Europe should be structured, 208

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Regime sceptic

Exit sceptic

• Who? • Older male who is higher educated and not very financially anxious residing in countries with relatively high quality of government and low unemployment • Where? • Highest share in Germany, Finland, and France • Biggest increase since 2008 in Great Britain • What? • Unemployment issue priority • Pro-redistribution, but antimigration • How? • 82% vote remain and 31% support Eurosceptic party of soft left or hard right type • Demand economic reforms at EU level and more financial assistance for member states

• Who? • Older male with slightly lower education who is not financially anxious residing in countries with relatively high quality of government and low unemployment • Where? • Highest share in the Netherlands, Sweden, and United Kingdom • Biggest increase since 2008 in Finland • What? • Immigration is issue priority • Sceptical of redistribution and migration • How? • 63% vote remain and 42% support Eurosceptic party, most of hard right type • Supports EU with more decision making via referendums and national governments • Demand economic reforms at EU level and tougher stance on member state in financial trouble

Figure 9.1. Continued

and (d) have the ability to constrain elite behaviour as they inform people’s behaviour in elections and referendums.

9.2 A Divided Public: So What? Why do these observed patterns in public opinion matter? I suggest that there are three reasons why policy makers, pundits, and politicians should care about the findings of this book. First, national government leaders and members of the European Parliament need to get elected. This book has shown that different types of Euroscepticism are closely linked to people’s voting behaviour. As a result, government leaders and members of the European Parliament will need to pay close attention to the issue priorities and positions of voters. Jean-Claude Juncker whilst being the prime minister of Luxembourg once told 209

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a reporter for The Economist (2006), ‘we all know what to do. We just don’t know how to get re-elected once we’ve done it.’ Second, an increase in different types of scepticism could seriously limit the activities of political elites at the EU level because of their close ties to behaviour. In Chapter 6, I coined this phenomenon domestic constraint. It refers to the notion that public scepticism, through its intimate link to Eurosceptic party support (and in some instances preferences for secession), narrows the manoeuvring room for national and European political elites aiming to push integration further. Third, although European and national elites may often believe that they push integration forward for the public good, segments of the population are increasingly critical of some of their activities, such as the establishment of the free movement of people or the governing of the Eurozone. Moreover, both sceptics and supporters are wary of further supranational organization of decision making. These policy and regime concerns are shared by a majority of citizens. Hence, they deserve careful consideration by national and European political elites alike. What are the main challenges that European and national elites face when it comes to public opinion? This book suggests that a growing share of exit sceptics is especially worrying for the current status quo of integration and any further integrative steps. Not only are exit sceptics critical of both the EU regime and policies and see their country outside the EU as a viable alternative to membership, they also display a higher likelihood of voting for hard Eurosceptic parties or for their country to leave the EU in a membership referendum. They wish to see more intergovernmental decision making and worry about intra-EU migration as well as a loss of national control. Although this group, at the time of writing, is still in a minority position within the EU, its share is particularly large in rich member states in the North Western regions of the continent. What is more, the share of exit, regime, and policy sceptics combined is currently larger than the share of loyal supporters within the EU. Hence, one of the core challenges for European and national elites will be to make sure that policy and regime sceptics do not wander into the exit sceptic category. Policy and regime sceptics are ambivalent about the EU. They are less likely to act upon their EU concerns in referendums and elections. That said, they do care deeply about EU-related matters. It thus seems crucial for the EU to meet at least some of their concerns through specific policies and by stressing the added European value of policy making. Unemployment and economic reform are key priorities for policy and regime sceptics, so tackling them is an important way to start. A further challenge is the preference heterogeneity among the public. This suggests that a one-size-fits-all response to Euroscepticism is unlikely to work. Over the years, scholars have attempted to understand which factors drive, stall, or alter the course of integration. Theorizing European integration 210

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reached somewhat of a stalemate in the mid-1990s with neofunctionalists on the one hand and liberal intergovernmentalists on the other.3 Yet, in recent years, theorizing European integration by combining the tools of comparative politics and international relations has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Scholars have aimed to understand the role that public contention plays in the integration process (see for example Hooghe and Marks 2005, 2009; Hix 2008, 2015; Leuffen et al. 2013; Schimmelfennig et al. 2015). Building on this work, I suggest that one of the core dilemmas the EU faces today is the following: how to deal with the heterogeneous demands of its citizens at a time when supranational proposals aimed at increasing electoral democracy at the EU level in order to deal with this preference heterogeneity are deeply unpopular. How should European and national political elites address this dilemma? No one is able to provide an exact blueprint for reform as there are currently simply too many moving parts. Yet, what we can do is to highlight some of key challenges elites might face when aiming to respond to the recent rise in Eurosceptic sentiment that this book has uncovered. I will do so by standing on the shoulders of giants, namely those researchers who have contributed to the big theories of European integration.

9.3 Can the Grand Theories of European Integration Provide Insights? The big debates in European integration theory about how and why the EU has evolved have focused on a distinction between different varieties of neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism (Sangiovanni 2006). Neofunctionalism approaches view European integration as an incremental process in which cooperation between states in a particular sector creates strong incentives for cooperation in other sectors, coined spillover. Technocratic elites at the EU level play a crucial role in facilitating this spillover (see Haas 1968; Schmitter 1969 for example). Intergovernmental approaches view integration as a form of inter-state bargaining in which every government tries to secure its national interests and decisions represent the lowest common denominator between the different national actors (see Hoffmann 1966; Moravcsik 1998 for example). In recent work, Erik Jones and his colleagues (2016) aim to combine the neofunctionalist and liberal intergovernmentalist approaches in order to explain the recent step-by-step response to the Eurozone crisis. The

3 Simon Hix (1994, 1996) criticized the grand debate by suggesting that we might not need a theory of European integration in the first place. Just as there is no theory of American or German politics, why would there be one about Europe? He suggested that scholars embrace the toolkit of comparative politics.

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authors argue that liberal intergovernmentalism needs to be completed because it suggests states holding divergent preferences would automatically fall back on lowest common denominator solutions. Yet, the responses to the Eurozone crisis went much further, even though member states’ preferences diverged greatly (see also White 2015). What pushes member states to solutions that involve more competencies being transferred to the EU level, so Erik Jones and colleagues argue (2016), are spillover and supranational activism as highlighted by neofunctionalist approaches.4 Empirical work has focused primarily on decisive moments of a deepening and widening of integration such as the establishment of the European Communities (e.g. Haas 1968; Milward 1984), the Single Market and European Monteary Union (e.g. Zysman and Sandholtz 1989; Sandholtz 1993; Moravcsik 1998) or enlargement (Schimmelfennig 2003). Overall, the grand theories have viewed the EU largely as an elite-driven project in which public opinion played little or no role of significance. Existing approaches aiming to explain European integration primarily stress the role of national and supranational elites and fail to account for how an increasingly politicized project not only affects relations among states, but also permeates politics within Europe’s polities. Recently, scholars have aimed to integrate the idea of the public contention, often referred to as politicization, about the EU more directly into their approaches. Frank Schimmelfennig, Dirk Leuffen, and Berthold Rittberger (2015: 765, 770; see also Leuffen et al. 2013) for example suggest that the EU is a ‘system of differentiated integration’ which they define as ‘a polity that displays variance across policy areas and across space, while maintaining an institutional core’.5 The driving forces behind differentiation, the authors argue, are interdependence and politicization.6 Interdependence can generally be conceived as a functional need for integration to the extent that policies entail externalities and transnational exchanges. It is viewed as the core driver of integration in both intergovernmentalist and neofunctionalist approaches (Hoffmann 1966; Haas 1968; Schmitter 1969; Moravcsik 1998). Politicization is most commonly viewed as a core obstacle to integration

4 An important addition to the grand theories has been the description of the EU as a system of multilevel governance in which supranational, national, and regional layers of government are intimately entangled (Hooghe and Marks 2001). 5 The EU polity is characterized by vertical and horizontal differentiation. Vertical differentiation denotes the fact that policy areas have been integrated at ‘different speeds and reached different levels of centralization over time’, while horizontal differentiation refers to the situation that ‘many integrated policies are neither uniformly nor exclusively valid in the EU’s member states’ (Schimmelfennig et al. 2015: 765). 6 Schimmelfennig and colleagues (2015) suggest that while low interdependence provides little incentive for integration, high interdependence provides strong incentives. The extent to which the demand for high interdependence can be met crucially depends on politicization. When politicization is low, the demand for integration can be met at the EU level; when it is high integration will likely fail or become differentiated.

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(Hooghe and Marks 2009; De Wilde 2011), although there are authors who suggest that a growing gap between the preferences of mainstream political elites and the public actually provides an unprecedented opportunity to expand EU competences in a technocratic way (Bickerton et al. 2015). Politicization relates to dissatisfaction with the EU which is linked to voting behaviour in referendums or elections to the European Parliament and mobilized by Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs (Hooghe and Marks 2009).7 What is exactly meant by politicization? Pieter De Wilde (2011: 560) suggests that politicization is ‘an increase in polarization of opinions, interests or values and the extent to which they are publicly advanced towards the process of policy formulation within the EU’, while Grande and Hutter (2016: 7) define it as ‘an expansion of the scope of conflict [about the EU] within a political system’. While some studies suggest that the politicization of European integration has been rather limited (Hutter et al. 2016), others point at an overall increase (Risse 2015; Höglinger 2016), while others again suggest that the evidence is mixed and highly dependent on national contexts (Kriesi and Grande 2016). Yet, an increase of polarization of opinions or an expansion of conflict between preferences may not automatically imply that these opinions or preferences constrain jurisdictional choices at the European level. What seems to matter for jurisdictional choices at the EU level is the fact that at least some governments face domestic ratification constraints or failures that prevent them from joining the integrated policy. Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks (2009) in their theory of postfunctionalism explicitly deal with the idea that public opinion can constrain jurisdictional choices at the EU level and highlight the role of Eurosceptic parties in referendums and election campaigns. The authors argue that that preferences over jurisdictional architecture are profoundly shaped by conceptions of identity. The reason is that governance is not only the mechanism to achieve collective benefits by coordinating human activity, but that it is also an expression of community. The authors suggest that the issue is that, in reality, the demand for functional cooperation rarely coincides with the territorially rooted sense of community. As a result, European integration leads to tensions between the functional need for cooperation and the community threat of cooperation. The authors conceptualize this community threat through feelings of national identity. They suggest that people who are most opposed to the EU are those with an exclusive national attachment. Those who conceive of their national identity as exclusive are expected to be more Eurosceptic than those who have multiple and nested territorial identities. European integration should be particularly

7 It may even give rise to a new cleavage in Europe’s polities (Kriesi et al. 2008; Hooghe and Marks 2017).

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contested in countries with a comparatively high share of citizens with exclusive national identities.

9.4 Can Supranational Reform Solutions Help? The notion that public opinion can constrain the European project as developed in scholarly contributions about differentiated integration and postfunctionalism is important. Yet, the core idea put forward in current work, that primarily identity-based opposition to the EU is important, might need some refinement in light of the findings presented in the present book. This book argues that very different types and drivers of Euroscepticism exist. Interestingly, the results show that these different types of sceptics do not necessarily differ from loyal supporters based on their feelings of attachment to their own country, but rather they differ on the basis of what they want from Europe. While exit sceptics care mostly about intra-EU migration, regime sceptics care mainly about unemployment, while policy sceptics care about both. What the majority of Eurosceptics do share is an opposition towards more supranational modes of decision making, for example through the election of a European president or an expansion of the powers of the European Commission. Importantly also, not all Eurosceptics support hard Eurosceptic parties or wish their country to leave the EU; policy and regime sceptics often support soft Eurosceptic parties and wish to reform some elements of the Union while remaining satisfied with others. Although exit sceptics display a higher likelihood of voting for their country to leave the EU if a referendum were held today, the greater majority of policy and regime sceptics wish to remain in the EU. There is also a rift between different types of sceptics in terms of their policy demands. Exit sceptics are predominantly worried about intra-EU migration, policy and regime sceptics care more or at least equally about economic issues. Moreover, sceptics of the same kind in different countries want different things: most notably while exit sceptics residing in contexts that do relatively well in economic and governance terms want to restrict migration and find this the most important issue, their counterparts in less economically and politically viable contexts care predominantly about unemployment. It may prove hard to come up with policy proposals that would satisfy all these different constituencies simultaneously, especially in the short run. Combatting unemployment and sluggish growth in parts of the Union could rely on the introduction of some sort of EU transfers or a debt reduction mechanism that would most likely involve a transfer of policy competences to the EU level. Such a transfer would be met by opposition from regime sceptics who may not like to see more EU competences without democratic reform, or by 214

Conclusion

exit sceptics who are wary of any further transfer of competences. Moreover, the restriction of migration to please exit sceptics would primarily violate one of the core principles of integration, namely the free movement of people. Surely, it is possible to strike a middle ground between both demands by introducing some sort of fiscal stimulus or investment programme that would allow poorer economies to grow and thus limit the demand for migration, yet the fruits of such reforms may only come to bear in the medium run and thus not tackle the immediate pressure of migrant flows. Given that EU and national elites face re-election every four to five years and EU issues inform domestic vote choices as well as European ones (De Vries 2007; Hobolt et al. 2009; De Vries et al. 2011), they will most likely be focused on short-term gains. Moreover, elites may want to steer clear of EU related matters that split their ranks out of fear of the wrath of Eurosceptic challengers who skilfully prey on their weaknesses (Van De Wardt et al. 2014). Yet, if they fail to address popular discontent over a long period of time, it may lead to a slow but steady dilution of the existing reservoir of good will towards the EU regime, and increase regime and exit scepticism as a result. If people feel that their voice is not heard in Brussels, they may turn against the project altogether. Hence, a lacklustre response to some of the key policy problems that the EU faces today and that people care deeply about, namely the economic and social consequences of unemployment and intra-EU migration, may seem strategically beneficial to government parties to win elections in the short term, but the long-term consequences may be disastrous and threaten the very existence of the EU. One way to deal with this is to develop some means to compensate member states for policy concessions. The strengthening of supranational democracy in the EU is seen by some as crucial to developing programmes of economic and political compensation to balance out structural imbalances between member states. Simon Hix (2015), for example, has raised the possibility of treaty reform that would allow for more public contestation over EU policy making and enhance accountability (see also Giddens 2013). Given that the Eurozone crisis has uncovered deep rifts within the EU, and created clear winners and losers, the boundaries of technocratic politics seem to have been reached. For one, the new macroeconomic governance structures such as the European Stability Mechanism will have significant distributional consequences for European citizens. Second, the provision of lending mechanisms through the European Stability Mechanism or specific bailout packages is tied to a commitment to structural reforms and austerity measures by receiving member states. A key purpose of electoral democracy is to legitimize this type of redistributive politics through losers’ consent (Anderson and Guillory 1997). A direct election of an EU president could, according to Simon Hix (2015: 197), ‘provide a locus for democratic contestation and foster debate 215

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about the overall direction of macroeconomic governance in the EU’. It would at the same time provide citizens with a possibility to express their discontent towards European integration in elections, by throwing the rascals out, and as a consequence lower the likelihood that they turn against the project altogether (Hobolt and Tilley 2014). When citizens, at least in part, blame the EU for their woes, yet cannot identify a government to hold to account, trust in EU institutions will deteriorate and the legitimacy of the EU is put in jeopardy (Hobolt 2015). The aftermath of the British referendum on EU membership seems to have been accompanied, as I demonstrated in Chapter 7, by a slight increase in support within the remaining 27 member states. It was thus seen by some as a unifying moment for Europe that would allow for supranational reform proposals as discussed before to become a reality. The political paralysis that has emerged following the Eurozone and refugee crises characterized by fundamentally divergent thinking about further integrative steps in Europe’s national capitals, could give way to a more coordinated and European approach. Comments by Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, at the intergovernmental conference held in Brussels following the result of the British referendum reflected this view: ‘We have more need than ever for a united Union rather than a disunited Kingdom.’8 Similarly, former Belgian prime minister, longstanding member of the EP and chief Brexit negotiator for the Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt (2017) suggested in his book Europe’s Last Chance that the only way forward for the EU post-Brexit is to reform along the lines of America’s federal government. In Verhofstadt’s view only a United States of Europe would be strong enough to withstand geopolitical competition and ensure a better and safer world. The findings of this book cast serious doubts on these ideas. For one, more supranational forms of decision making will most likely be met by great scepticism among the European public. In particular, a directly elected EU president or more competences for the Commission is opposed by sceptics and supporters alike. What is more, the public is conflicted about the policy goals that a more united Europe would pursue. While economic growth is important to all, some sceptics care equally about migration, while others predominantly care about social inequality. One could argue that because of these divisions, more public contestation via a directly elected president would be precisely the answer. In the light of the findings presented in this book, however, I doubt this is the case. In order to forge such a reform, one would need the unanimous support of all member states; only then would a pan-European election be possible. Given the current divisions in public opinion and the fact that a 8 His remarks were summarized in an article in The Financial Times: ‘In UK’s misery, EU leaders see tonic to quiet their own populists’, 29 June 2016.

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directly elected president is deeply unpopular, this simply does not seem like a feasible reform scenario. Another reason why this type of reform might fail is the fact that government parties might not want to commit to these types of reform either. National governmental leaders in the European Council who need to decide on the long-term direction of the integration process are not insulated in Brussels; they face continued pressure to be re-elected and Europe is not popular at the ballot box. Expecting these politicians to motor on ahead in Europe seems unrealistic; they will likely refrain from doing so because they suspect further integrative steps to be deeply unpopular with the electorate. Next to arguments about feasibility, one could argue that supranational reform proposals might have unintended consequences that could jeopardize the future of the Union. Given the strong regional divisions within the EU that this book has uncovered, pan-European elections to elect a president or government would most likely be fought over national or regional rather than ideological lines. What is more, the pro- or anti-EU dimension that is increasingly characterizing national electoral politics (De Vries 2007, 2010) could become one of the main dividing lines in European elections. Rather than insulating the EU from discontent by addressing a so-called democratic deficit, the European project itself could come under further attack. Eurosceptic parties across the EU mobilize these concerns effectively and will reap the electoral benefits, as they have done in the past. Indeed, the EU might take the risk to ‘backslide into an uncontrollable dialectic of more and more populism’ which would have to be met by more technocratic problem-solving (Gustavsson 2015: 251). The risks associated with supranational reform and the lack of any clear improvement from the current situation could jeopardize all forms of political cooperation across national borders in Europe to tackle important policy issues such as migration, environmental protection, economic growth, or trade.

9.5 Flexible Integration as a Way Forward The findings presented in this book suggest that the majority of people feel that supranational institutions may not always allow their national elites to secure economic, political, and social security, and well-being. At a time when Eurosceptic sentiment is rising, the Union relies more on public approval than ever before. Consequently, the EU is in an uncertain phase that could threaten its very existence. Aiming to reform the EU through supranational solutions to strengthen democracy and scaling up policy competences is largely unfeasible due to widespread public opposition to it, and possibly undesirable due to the negative side effects I have outlined in Section 9.4. There might be two ways forward. One is to continue on the current path of incremental response and 217

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reform, and hope that economic recovery might increase public approval. This scenario would have the advantage of requiring no Treaty change, but the disadvantage that it relies on the political will of individual member states and their readiness to work closely with EU institutions. Moreover, the expectation that economic recovery may increase public support may not crystalize, as this book has demonstrated that on average these successes will be attributed to the national level and actions of national governments. As such, staying on the current course carries the considerable risk that the EU could collapse or split up due to divergences on how to solve current economic and political problems stemming largely from the structural imbalances that characterize the Union. A second possible scenario is one of more differentiated governance. Differentiated integration is already common in the EU, but is not yet the norm (Winzen and Schimmelfennig 2016). Differentiated governance includes several modes: multi-speed, variable geometry, or flexibility.9 While multi-speed would entail a group of like-minded member states committed to the deepening of integration—the core—to go further with integration, the others who are not committed or disagree—the periphery—are opting-out with the expectation that they will join in the future. A multi-speed mode of governance allows for differentiation over time, such as Eurozone versus non-Eurozone membership, for example. The problems with a multi-speed Europe are manifold, however. For example, who belongs to the core and who to the periphery? Moreover, the expectation of the periphery eventually following the core shapes the image of a possible two-class EU membership where the interests of some member states are privileged over others. My book would suggest that this appearance may in fact lower public approval for the project rather than increase it, as it lowers the perceived benefits of the status quo of membership for some. Variable geometry relies on a notion of multiple levels of integration rather than speeds. It is a situation where unbridgeable differences between member states lead to differentiation across space and permanent separations between member states. The Schengen Agreement is an example of variable geometry. Variable geometry effectively carries less of the disadvantages associated with a multi-speed mode of governance as it does not necessarily institutionalize two classes of membership, but it still favours harmonization over differentiation. It leaves little room for there to be different end goals of integration. An alternative could be to aim for flexibility. The essence of Europe is its diversity and successful integration should perhaps not be defined as ultimately a form of harmonization or even homogenization, but rather be based on the idea of flexibility. A flexible mode of governance denotes a situation 9 Alexander Stubb (1996) and Sandra Lavenex (2011) use different classifications and terms for these three modes, but their conceptualizations are closely related to the ones used here.

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where member states can choose on which dimensions or in which policy areas to cooperate, and on which to diverge. It combines a commitment by all member states about a common supranational base and complements it with optional integration in other areas through open partnerships. It would entail flexibility both in terms of policy as well as in terms of membership. Flexible integration differs from multi-speed and variable geometry modes in that it explicitly defines the end goal of integration as multiplicity rather than uniformity. It could, for example, take place by creating ‘functional, overlapping and competing jurisdictions’ (see Frey and Eichenberger 1999; Eichenberger and Frey 2006). Instead of a single continental-wide jurisdiction, authority would be spliced into multiple, functionally specific, policy regimes with overlapping national memberships. These would be competing as individuals and/or communities and may choose to which governmental unit they want to belong. These concerns would be expressed via elections or referendums (Eichenberger and Frey 2006). Cooperation would require an agreement on a minimal set of common objectives among member states, and EU institutions would act as facilitators. It would require the EU to replace the principle of an ‘ever-closer Union’ with one of ‘unity through diversity’ and publicly acknowledge the extensive differentiated integration that already characterizes the EU. Thomas Winzen and Frank Schimmelfennig (2016), for example, suggest that over 40 per cent of legislative acts are currently differentiated. Flexible integration with an end goal of multiplicity could be a way for the EU to act as an organization that strengthens, not weakens the power of nation states that operate in an increasingly interdependent world. A flexible rather than fixed end goal could prove a strong argument for the public to stick with the European project, even though it is divided about what it wants from Europe. A proposal for creating a flexible Union can of course be criticized. Possible criticisms could include: • A flexible Union would increase complexity and lead to less efficiency: The EU is already extremely diversified as types of diverse cooperation are already enshrined in the Treaties. The Treaty of Amsterdam, for example, allows for ‘enhanced cooperation’ among member states that can be applied on a case-by-case basis at the request of member states (Piris 2011). A truly flexible Union would potentially increase complexity in the short run, but would also allow member states to respond more quickly to changing circumstances without locking themselves into arrangements that are too rigid. This could in the long term prove to be much more efficient. • A flexible Union would decrease democratic accountability: Allowing for divergence could make it difficult for citizens to hold EU officials accountable. Yet, the degree of democratic accountability at the supranational level might be limited to begin with, and could rely on national arrangements 219

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as Andrew Moravcsik (2002) has eloquently argued. It could be enhanced by further strengthening national parliaments for example (De Vries 2015; Raunio 2015). Research demonstrates that lines of democratic accountability are often blurred in systems of multilevel governance (see Powell and Whitten 1993; Cutler 2004 for example). Moreover, we can ask ourselves whether EU officials should be held accountable for the actions of national governments that are ultimately responsible for the long-term direction of integration? When flexibility becomes the norm and the principle of integration is enacted, the locus of accountability and responsibility could shift to the national level. • A flexible Union would lead to even stronger executive drift: Governments in Council would be decisive for determining the direction of integration which could enhance the danger of executive drift. This could be counteracted by strengthening the role of national parliaments even further. Recent research suggests that parliamentary oversight at the national level significantly constrains governmental discretion to act on EU matters thereby aiding parliamentarians in keeping governments on a ‘leash’ (Winzen 2013; Raunio 2015). Much of the current reform packages—like the European Stability Mechanism as a response to the Eurozone crisis— requires the approval of national parliaments, for example. This type of reform could appease public demand, at least among exit sceptics, for more national control and public involvement in EU decision making without having to endure some of the clear efficiency costs associated with citizen referendums. • A flexible Union would increase fragmentation and lead to the EU’s irrelevance on the world stage: This criticism perhaps fails to fully acknowledge the fragmentation that already exists within the EU. Successful integration is currently seen as a way to harmonize or even homogenize. If these remain the goals, the EU might stumble from crisis to crisis as the diversity in national conditions and preferences is simply too great (see Stiglitz 2016 for an excellent discussion of this in terms of the Euro). This path will most likely lead the EU down a road of paralyzing fragmentation and increased irrelevance on the global stage. Now imagine a Union that is comprised of countries or regions that wish to be tied together by a currency, a common border, or common arrangements with outside partners, because people are convinced that it strengthens their country rather than weakens it (Slaughter 2016). This flexible Union would be a much stronger partner on the world stage. A flexible Union that sees as its end point multiplicity rather than unity may be discarded by some because it could constitute the beginning of the end. Yet, letting go of the adherence to the path of unity via harmonization or 220

Conclusion

even homogenization and putting in its place the principle of unity through diversity could prove more successful in the end. This is especially important for the EU where support for its policies and institutions is highly transactional because affective loyalties are weak. In her seminal piece ‘The New Constitution as European Demoi-cracy’, Kalypso Nicolaïdis (2004: 7) has argued that when we reconcile integration with diversity ‘[w]e do not need to develop a “common” identity if we become utterly comfortable borrowing each others’. We do not need to invent a common European history if we learn to borrow each other’s past.’ Membership in a truly flexible Union would allow member states to gain the benefits of unity while respecting their deeply rooted diversity. When the EU embraces its diversity and champions it as its strength rather than its weakness, the dream of cooperation on a historically divided continent is not dead, but it is rather alive and kicking.

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Appendix

Table A.1. Balance statistics Control

Treatment

P-Value

Positive/national Age Education Income Gender Employment

49 13.08 2.09 0.53 0.35

47 12.84 2.14 0.50 0.44

0.07 0.63 0.53 0.44 0.01

Negative/European Age Education Income Gender Employment

49 11.71 3.88 0.54 0.42

47 10.28 4.12 0.57 0.52

0.37 0.07 0.20 0.38 0.34

Negative/national Age Education Income Religiosity Gender Employment

57 11.32 5.69 4.48 0.55 0.38

57 12.77 5.34 4.39 0.54 0.89

0.07 0.07 0.17 0.70 0.85 0.00

Positive/European Age Education Income Religiosity Gender Employment

47 13.97 5.59 4.48 0.53 0.36

49 13.65 5.55 4.39 0.49 0.41

0.09 0.10 0.86 0.70 0.16 0.53

Table A.2. Results of placebo tests Dependent variable: EU regime differential Placebo1

Placebo Constant Fixed Effects Individual Covariates N

Placebo2

Positive/ national

Negative/ European

Negative/ national

Positive/ European

Positive/ national

Negative/ European

Negative/ national

Positive/ European

0.18 (0.29) 1.28 (1.07) ✓ ✓ 413

–0.16 (0.43) –0.88 (1.26) ✓ ✓ 117

–0.15 (0.30) 0.34 (0.50) ✓ ✓ 938

0.05 (0.18) –0.55 (0.49) ✓ ✓ 701

–0.25 (0.17) 0.82 (0.55) ✓ ✓ 838

0.22 (0.54) 0.23 (1.34) ✓ ✓ 115

–0.27 (0.88) –1.07 (1.20) ✓ ✓ 456

0.30 (0.23) –1.28 (0.64) ✓ ✓ 290

Notes: I conducted a similar analysis with two placebo dates that were randomly chosen within the fieldwork period. I re-estimated the main analysis presented in Table 3.3 with the placebo date variables rather than the treatment variable. The results reported show that we find no effects of randomly chosen dates in the fieldwork. Table entries are ordinary least squares regression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses. The fixed effects used are region and time. Individual level covariates included are age, age squared, education, income, employment status, and religiosity. Significant at * p < 0.05.

Appendix Table A.3. Results of small-Hsiao tests of IIA assumption

Loyal support Policy scepticism Regime scepticism Exit scepticism

lnL(full)

lnL(omit)

chi2

p-value (df)

–1987.273 –4093.562 –2785.458 –4667.391

–1943.068 –4054.383 –2739.826 –4625.639

88.409 78.358 91.264 83.504

0.468 (88) 0.759 (88) 0.385 (88) 0.616 (88)

Note: Ho: Odds(Outcome-J vs Outcome-K) are independent of other alternatives. A significant test is evidence against Ho.

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Index

age cohorts 111, 113 Ahtisaari, Martii 62, 65 Alexandrova, Petya 59 alternative state 8–9, 23, 36–9, 45, 56, 61, 77, 158, 171, 205–6 see also benchmark theory Alvarez, Michael 41 ambivalent attitudes 40–1, 79–80, 94, 101, 139–40 see also typology (of support and scepticism) and unified attitudes link to behaviour 139–40, 146, 151, 168 towards Europe see policy scepticism and regime scepticism Anderson, Christopher 27, 37, 101 anti-elitist sentiment 160–1, 168, 170 anti-foreigner sentiment 159–60, 165, 167–9 anti-globalization sentiment 160–1, 167–8, 169–70 Aspinwall, Mark 29 attitude ambivalence 40–1, 79–80, 94, 101, 139–40 benchmarks 5–6, 8, 11, 22, 23–6, 36–9, 58, 66, 77, 84, 88, 94, 114, 124, 139–40, 151, 156, 171, 176–8, 192, 197, 205–8 towards Europe see public opinion; scepticism; and support variability see attitude, ambivalence attribution of policy responsibility 45, 95–101, 115, 206 see also blame, attribution austerity 39, 58, 130, 132, 154, 162, 205, 215 Austria 16, 46, 64, 66, 83, 138, 155, 161–2, 178 bailout 6, 88, 186, 204, 215 Barcénas, Luis 63 Barcénas’ corruption scandal 62–4 Barosso, Jose Manuel 183 Basinger, Scott 140 Bechtel, Michael 186 behaviour consequences 8, 80, 131–2, 155–6, 176–7, 207–9 elections see party choice link to attitudes see attitude, ambivalence referendums 155–6, 176–7 Belgium 46, 54, 81–2

benchmark theory see also typology (of support and scepticism) alternative state 8–9, 23, 36–9, 45, 56, 61, 77, 158, 171, 205–6 conceptualization 23–6, 36–9 EU differential 36–9, 49 measurement 45–9, 56–7, 59–70, 77–8, 205 role of events 59–70 status quo 8–9, 23, 36–9, 45, 56, 61, 77, 158, 171, 205–6 Berlusconi, Silvio 205 Bertelsmann Foundation 24, 47, 66, 155, 184 Bettel, Xavier 216 blame attribution 45, 95–101, 115, 206 impact on the EU see blame, attribution Boomgaarden, Hajo 41 Bouard, Sylvain 41 Brehm, John 41 Brexit see also referendums consequences 3, 11, 15, 17–19, 22, 81, 103–4, 111, 153–61 leave campaign 17, 159 negotiations 176–9 Remain campaign 17, 159 voting behaviour see behaviour, consequences Bulgaria 19, 46, 50, 139 Cameron, David 153 cash for influence corruption scandal 62, 64 Centre Democrats in the Netherlands 21–2 Chapel Hill Expert Survey 136 climate change 116–20, 188–95 cohorts see age cohorts collective decisions 43–4, 46, 206 Communist Party in Greece 16 Conservative Party in Great Britain 132, 155 Constitutional Treaty 13, 21, 35, 41, 203 constraining dissensus 5 see also European integration and public opinion Converse, Philip 40

Index Copsey, Nathaniel 29 corruption see also quality of government Bárcenas scandal 62–4 Cash for Influence scandal 62, 64 consequences of 28, 39, 58, 61–5, 67–70, 86, 88, 102 cost–benefit analysis 14, 16 counterfactual 45, 51 crime 105, 116–20 Croatia 139 cross-validation data sources 49 measures see EU differential cueing 20 see under name of individual political parties Cyprus 16, 19, 46, 139 Czech Republic 46, 81, 89, 91, 208 Dahl, Robert 44–5, 206 Danish People’s Party in Denmark 143 debt reduction 7, 214 De Grauwe, Paul 183 democracy legitimacy 3–4, 42, 45, 216 preferences for 95–8 satisfaction with 25, 95–8 supranational 215–16 democratic deficit 27, 59, 79, 187, 217 Denmark 16, 35, 46, 50, 81, 83, 91, 138 De Wilde, Pieter 213 Díez Medrano, Juan 29 differentiated governance 218 differentiated integration 212–13, 214, 218–19 differentiation see also differentiated integration membership 212, 218 policy 212, 218 domestic constraint 151, 210 Draghi, Mario 13 Dijsselbloem, Jeroen 13 Easton, David 42–3 economic and monetary union 13 economic growth issue priorities 105, 126 performance 7, 18, 84, 86, 105, 214, 217 preferences 105, 126, 185, 188–95, 203, 208, 216 Economist, The 210 education 93–5, 100, 104, 111–14, 155, 168, 176, 208 El País 63 elections behaviour see party choice European Parliament 4, 14–16, 88, 131–45, 146–50

244

European president 188–95, 214 see also elected European president national parliament 14, 131 elected European president 188–95, 214 energy safety 188–95 enhanced cooperation 219 Estonia 81, 83, 89, 132 EU differential see also benchmark theory cross-national variation 51–5 cross-validation 49 policy 46–55, 68–70, 78–81, 90–2, 106 regime 46–55, 59–69, 78–81, 90–2, 106 temporal variation 50–5 EU issue voting conditions for 131–9 in 2014 EP elections 146–50 eupinions 24–5, 47, 49, 66, 70, 80, 155–60, 161, 164, 171, 173, 187, 201 Euro see also Eurozone crisis 6, 15, 22, 23, 28, 34, 40, 58, 59, 88, 99, 102, 130, 196, 204–5, 208, 211–12, 215, 220 critique 196, 204–5 future 196–202 reform preferences 196–202 Eurobarometer (EB) 19, 21, 35 European attachment 124–6 European Central Bank 13, 34, 38 president of see Draghi, Mario European Commission 13, 56, 61, 110, 130, 188–95, 214 president of see Barosso, Jose Manuel and Juncker, Jean-Claude European Commission’s Anti-fraud Office 64 European Council 5, 29, 59, 130, 152, 184, 188–95, 217, 220 president of see Tusk, Donald and Van Rompuy, Herman European Court of Justice 38 European Election Survey (EES) 25, 47, 49, 130, 133, 137, 158 European identity 14, 43, 124–6 European integration see also integration future of 152, 177–9, 183–203, 204–5, 214–21 preference for 14–15, 23–5, 26–9, 36–41, 42–5, 47–9, 78–83, 93–5, 103–5, 121–4, 184, 186–95, 209–11 role of public opinion see public opinion theories of 211–14 European Parliament elections to 4, 10, 13, 15–16, 19–20, 24, 64–5, 88, 98, 131–8, 139–45, 146–50 members of 59, 62, 71, 186–95 European reform Eurozone 196–202 possible scenarios 214–21 preference for 183–95

Index European Social Survey (ESS) 25, 45–7, 49–50, 58, 60–5, 67–8, 80, 88, 93, 96 European Stability Mechanism 16, 204, 215, 220 European Union see also integration elections 4, 10, 13, 15–16, 19–20, 24, 64–5, 88, 98, 131–8, 139–45, 146–50 governance 4, 34–5, 53, 57, 196–202, 207–8, 213–16, 218–20 institutions 45, 48–9, 106, 216–19 reform 29, 214–21 role of public opinion 4–5, 12, 14, 34, 101, 151, 212–14 Eurosceptic parties demand for 131–9 hard 5, 10–11, 15–16, 19–22, 24, 80, 82, 130, 131–46, 150–2, 210, 214 left-wing 131–46, 150–2 right-wing 131–46, 150–2 soft 5, 11, 130, 131–46, 150–2 support for 139–46, 150–2 see also party choice supply of 131–9 Euroscepticism see also support and public opinion exit 9, 78–83, 84–92, 93–4, 105–15, 126, 150–2, 176–9, 202–3, 206–9, 215 multidimensionality 8, 10, 23, 34, 36, 41–2, 186, 206 multilevel 8, 10, 23, 27, 206 policy 9, 78–83, 84–92, 93–4, 105–15, 126, 150–2, 176–9, 202–3, 206–9 regime 9, 78–83, 84–92, 93–4, 105–15, 126, 150–2, 176–9, 202–3, 206–9 typology 9, 78–83, 206–9 Eurostat 51, 85 Eurozone crisis 6, 15, 22, 23, 28, 34, 40, 58, 59, 88, 99, 102, 130, 196, 204–5, 208, 211–12, 215, 220 critique 204–5 debt reduction 7, 214 governance 196–202 preference for 196–202 reform 183–95, 196–202, 214–21 structural imbalances 6, 88, 204, 208, 215, 218 transfers 58, 214 events effect on public opinion 59–72 European 59–66 importance for European integration 8, 29, 56–9, 72–3, 207–8 national 59–66, 66–70 ever-closer Union 13, 39, 219 executive drift 220 exit scepticism see also scepticism and typology (of support and scepticism) behavioural consequences 130, 131–46, 150–2

cross-national variation 81–92 importance for European integration 78–83, 206–9, 210, 214 temporal variation 88–92 expectations of government 96–8 experiment conjoint 184–5, 186–95 natural 59–66 survey 66–72 Farage, Nigel 153 federalism federal solution 12, 216 reform see European reform Feldman, Stanley 41 Fidesz in Hungary 132 financial difficulty 16, 201–2 Finland 46, 62, 83, 89, 91, 138, 178 Fiscal Compact 204 fiscal transfers see Eurozone, transfers Five Star Movement in Italy 16, 154, 162 flexibility 218–21 flexible Union 219–21 Fortuyn, Pim 21 France 13, 16, 34, 41, 46, 66, 81, 83, 89, 91, 129, 138, 143, 154–6, 161–2, 178 free movement 7, 39, 179, 210, 215 Gabel, Matthew 104–5, 109 gain frame see prospect theory gender 104, 109–11 gender mainstreaming 110 Germany 6, 16, 29, 39, 46, 57–8, 65–6, 81, 83, 89, 91, 138, 154–6, 161–2, 173, 186 Giger, Nathalie 70 globalization fears 126, 155–6, 159–61, 164–70, 177 Goodwin, Matthew 103, 161 Gothenburg Quality of Government dataset 51, 87 Great Britain 3, 6, 16–17, 19, 24–5, 28–9, 46, 66, 81, 83, 89, 103, 139, 155–9, 175, 178 Greece 16, 19, 88, 129–30, 132, 139, 205 Grillo, Beppe 16, 154 Haas, Ernst 4 Hagemann, Sara 59 Hainmueller, Jens 186 Hakhverdian, Armèn 168 hard Eurosceptic parties 5, 10–11, 15–16, 19–22, 24, 80, 82, 130, 131–46, 150–2, 210, 214 harmonization 218–20 Haughton, Tim 29 Heath, Oliver 103 Hix, Simon 211, 215 Hobolt, Sara 41, 43, 104, 133, 161 Hoffmann, Isabell 24, 47, 66, 184

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Index homogenization 218–20 Hooghe, Liesbet 5, 213 Hungary 40, 46, 50, 66, 78, 81, 83, 89, 132, 139, 155, 161–2 identity European 14, 40–3, 124–6 explanation 5, 8, 14–15, 19–22, 35, 40–3, 93–5, 112, 124–6, 213–14, 221 national 5, 14–15, 19–22, 40–3, 93–5, 124–6, 213 Iglesias, Pablo 39, 154 immigration preferences for 7, 10–11, 28, 103–4, 121–4, 132, 136, 146–7, 159, 161, 165–9, 176–8, 188, 189–95, 203, 210, 214–16 priority of 10, 105, 116–21, 130, 137–9, 144–6, 164 inflation 116–21, 177 integration see also politicization elite-driven 4, 13, 20, 33–4, 56–7, 59–60, 185, 211–12 flexible 217–21 founding fathers 13, 33 obstacles to 5, 8, 13, 29, 131, 151, 210, 213–14, 218, 220 preference for 14–15, 23–5, 26–9, 36–41, 42–5, 47–9, 78–83, 93–5, 103–5, 121–4, 184, 186–95, 209–11 role of public opinion 4–5, 12, 14, 34, 101, 151, 212–14 theories of 29, 211–14 intra-EU migration 7, 19, 121, 147, 210, 214–15 see also immigration and migration intra-EU transfers see Eurozone, transfers Ireland 6, 16, 19, 33, 46, 54, 81, 83, 89 issue positions 121–6, 146–50, 165–9, 176–8 priorities 116–21, 137–9, 144–6, 164 Italy 16, 28, 139, 155–6, 161–2, 178, 205 Jones, Erik 211–12 Juncker, Jean-Claude 13, 56, 209 jurisdiction choices 5, 213 design 219 Kahneman, Daniel 36 Katsanidou, Alexia 28 Katzenstein, Peter 29 Kopecký, Petr 133 Kriesi, Hanspeter 28 Krugman, Paul 183 Kuhn, Theresa 43 Labour Party in Great Britain 153 Labour Party in Malta 136

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Lavenex, Sandra 218 Lavine, Howard 140 Le Pen, Marine 16, 129, 155 Left Party in Germany 154 Left Party in Sweden 16 left-wing Eurosceptic parties see Eurosceptic parties legitimacy 3–4, 42, 45, 216 see also democracy and democratic deficit Leuffen, Dirk 212 Liberal intergovernmentalism 211–12 Libertas in Malta 136 List Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands 21–2 see also Fortuyn, Pim loyal support see also scepticism and typology (of support and scepticism) behavioural consequences 130, 131–46, 150–2 cross-national variation 81–92 importance for European integration 78–83, 206–9, 210, 214 temporal variation 88–92 losers’ consent 44 loss frame see prospect theory Loveless, Matthew 27, 102 Lubbers, Marcel 41 Luxembourg 16, 56, 132, 209, 216 Maastricht Treaty 34 Malta 16, 132, 136, 139, 146 Marks, Gary 5, 213 Mattli, Walter 29 May, Theresa 103, 153 measurement see also cross-validation EU differential 45–9 strategy 45–9 Members of European Parliament 59, 62, 71, 186–95 Merkel, Angela 154–5, 205 migration see also immigration intra-EU 7, 19, 121, 147, 210, 214–15 position towards 7, 10–11, 28, 103–4, 121–4, 132, 136, 146–7, 159, 161, 165–9, 176–8, 188, 189–95, 203, 210, 214–16 priority of 10, 105, 116–21, 130, 137–9, 144–6, 164 Monnet, Jean 3, 33 Moravcsik, Andrew 29, 220 Mudde, Cas 133 multidimensional attitudes 8, 10, 23, 34, 36, 41–2, 186, 206 see also benchmark theory and Euroscepticism multilevel attitudes 8, 10, 23, 27, 206 see also benchmark theory and Euroscepticism multilevel governance 34–5, 208, 212, 220 multiplicity 219–20 multi-speed Europe 218–19

Index national attachment 19, 124–6, 213 see also identity national control preference for 11, 121–6, 130, 146, 148–51, 179, 210, 220 National Front in France 16, 28, 129, 143 see also Le Pen, Marine national governments 6–7, 10, 12, 13–14, 34, 45, 47, 57, 59, 64, 84, 97–101, 114, 131, 178, 188, 189–95, 209, 217–20 see also European council and elections national identity 5, 14–15, 19–22, 40–3, 93–5, 124–6, 213 see also identity national parliaments 220 see also elections neofunctionalism 211–12 Netherlands, The 6, 13, 16, 21, 39, 41, 46, 50, 66, 81, 83, 129, 139, 143, 155, 161, 162, 178 Nicolaïdis, Kalypso 211 Nobel Peace Prize EU 61–2, 65 Martti Ahtisaari 61–2, 65 Norris, Pippa 96 Northern Ireland 17, 104, 153, 172 opt-out 33 Orban, Viktor 77, 132 Otjes, Simon 28 party choice Eurosceptic parties 131–9, 139–46, 150–2 link to support and scepticism see Eurosceptic parties Party for Freedom in the Netherlands 16, 21–2, 129, 143 permissive consensus 4–5, 12, 14, 101, 151 Podemos in Spain 39, 129–30, 154 Poland 40, 46, 50, 53, 66, 81, 83, 89, 139, 155–6, 161, 173 policy attribution see attribution of policy responsibility and blame, attribution policy evaluations see also benchmark theory and typology (of support and scepticism) cross-national variation 50–5 European 42–5 measurement of 45–9 national 42–5 temporal variation 50–5 policy scepticism see also scepticism and typology (of support and scepticism) behavioural consequences 130, 131–46, 150–2 cross-national variation 81–92 importance for European integration 78–83, 206–9, 210, 214 temporal variation 88–92 political sophistication 9, 58, 70–2 politicization 212–13 Popular Party in Spain 63–4

Portugal 16, 46, 81, 83, 89, 139 postfunctionalism 213–14 prospect theory see also reference point, dependent preferences gain frame 36–8 loss frame 36–9 reference point 36 proximate blame attribution 95–101 public goods provision of 37–8, 44, 55, 69, 77, 79, 84, 86, 206 transnational 37–8, 77, 79, 84 public opinion about Europe see support; scepticism; and typology (of support and scepticism) divergence 209–11 multidimensional 8, 10, 23, 34, 36, 41–2, 186, 206 multilevel 8, 10, 23, 27, 206 relationship with voting behaviour in elections see elections and party choice relationship with voting behaviour in referendums see referendums role in European integration 4–5, 12, 14, 34, 101, 151, 212–14 typology 9, 78–83, 206–9 Quality of Governance Institute of the University of Gothenburg 51, 87 Quality of Governance database 51, 87 quality of government 37, 50–3, 55, 69, 84, 86–92, 93, 95–7, 101–2, 105, 117–20, 121–6, 138, 155, 162, 176, 192, 197–202, 206 Rajoy, Mariano 58, 64 ratification failures 33, 59, 213 obstacles for integration see integration process 33–4, 152 treaty see treaty and referendums redistribution preferences 121–6, 130, 146, 148–9, 151 reference point see also benchmark theory dependent preferences 36 prospect theory 36–8 referendums Brexit 3, 11, 17–19, 148, 153–5, 156–61 citizen 188, 189–95 Constitutional Treaty 13, 21, 35, 41 EU membership 11, 37, 82, 159, 161–75, 210 Maastricht Treaty 33–4 preference for 188, 189–95 refugee see also immigration crisis 3, 13, 39–40, 54, 57–8, 117, 139, 177, 183, 216 flows 39

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Index regime evaluations see also benchmark theory and typology (of support and scepticism) cross-national variation 50–5 European 42–5 measurement of 45–9 national 42–5 temporal variation 50–5 regime scepticism see also scepticism and typology (of support and scepticism) behavioural consequences 130, 131–46, 150–2 cross-national variation 81–92 importance for European integration 78–83, 206–9, 210, 214 temporal variation 88–92 Renzi, Matteo 129 responsibility attribution see attribution of policy responsibility and blame, attribution responsive public 34, 56, 102 Rickard, Stephanie 104 right-wing Eurosceptic parties see Eurosceptic parties risk 36–8, 85, 156 Rittberger, Berthold 212 Roemer, Emile 154 Rohrschneider, Robert 27, 96, 102 Romania 64, 132, 139 Rutte, Mark 204 Sánchez-Cuenca, Ignacio 27–8, 86, 101 satisfaction with democracy 25, 47 scepticism see Euroscepticism Scharpf, Fritz 45 Schengen Agreement 218 Scheve, Kenneth 186 Schimmelfennig, Frank 212, 219 Schneider, Christina 59 Schulz, Martin 13 Scotland 17, 44, 104, 153, 172 second order elections 131–2, 176–7 security 188, 189–95, 203 Severin, Adrian 64 Singer, Matthew 117 single currency see Euro Single Market 6, 14, 17, 36, 57, 84, 96, 98, 110, 112, 177, 179, 185, 196, 212 Six Pack 204 skill levels 14, 18, 93–5, 103–5, 105–13 Slovakia 46 Slovenia 46, 54, 64, 83, 132 social class 17, 105–14, 155, 160–1, 167–8 social inequality 188, 189–95 social positioning 105–14 Socialist Party in the Netherlands 154 socio-demographics 105–14, 160–1, 167–8 soft Eurosceptic parties 5, 11, 130, 131–46, 150–2

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Spain 6, 16, 24–6, 29, 39, 46, 54, 58, 62, 63–4, 66, 81, 83, 88, 129, 154, 155–6, 161, 173 state intervention (in economy) 121–4, 146, 149–50 status quo 8–9, 23, 36–9, 45, 56, 61, 77, 158, 171, 205–6 see also benchmark theory Stiglitz, Joseph 204 Strasser, Ernst 64 Structural imbalances 6, 88, 204, 208, 215, 218 Stubb, Alexander 218 Sunday Times 64 support see also benchmark theory and typology (of support and scepticism) cross-national variation 81, 83–92 loyal 9, 78–83, 84–92, 93–4, 105–15, 126, 150–2, 176–9, 202–3, 206–9 multidimensionality 8, 10, 23, 34, 36, 41–2, 186, 206 multilevel 8, 10, 23, 27, 206 temporal variation 82–3, 88–92 typology 9, 78–83, 206–9 supranational see also European reform democracy 215–16 reform 29, 183–95, 196–202, 214–21 Sweden 16, 46, 50, 81, 83, 89, 178 Syriza in Greece 129–30, 132, 154 Szczerbiak, Aleks 80, 132 Taggart, Paul 80, 132 Thaler, Zoran 64 Toshkov, Dimiter 59 transfers see Eurozone, transfers treaty see also integration and referendums Amsterdam 219 constitutional 13, 21, 35, 41 Maastricht 33–5 ratification 33–4, 59, 152, 213 reform 29, 183–95, 196–202, 214–21 trust European Parliament 46, 48–9, 63, 106 national parliament 46, 48–9, 58, 63, 106 Tsipras, Alexis 154 Tversky, Amos 36 Two Pack 204 Tusk, Donald 3, 13, 183 typology (of support and scepticism) 9, 78–83, 206–9 unemployment 11, 18, 50–4, 85, 88, 101, 105, 106–7, 116–21, 124, 126, 130, 137–9, 144–5, 156, 160, 167, 191–2, 199–202, 210, 214–15 unified attitudes see also typology (of support and scepticism) importance of 10, 41, 80, 140, 207 link to behaviour 140, 207 towards Europe see exit scepticism and loyal support

Index uniformity 219 United Democratic Coalition in Portugal 16 United Kingdom see Great Britain United Kingdom Independence Party in Great Britain 16, 24 unity through diversity 219–21 utilitarian explanation 8, 14–19, 22, 35, 41–2, 93–4, 95–6, 103, 105, 108, 111, 114, 184–5, 186–95

variable geometry 218–19 Verhofstadt, Guy 216 viability of exit option 10, 79, 84, 86–7, 93–4, 155

Van Elsas, Erika 28 Van Rompuy, Herman 5, 13

Zalba Bidegain, Pablo 64 Zaller, John 41

Wagenknecht, Sarah 154 Wilders, Geert 16, 21, 129, 154, 178 Winzen, Thomas 219

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