The EU as a savior and a saint? Corruption and public support for redistribution

Monika Bauhr (University of Gothenburg) & Nicholas Charron (University of Gothenburg)

Strike a conversation with a stranger about the EU these days and you are (rather) unlikely to end up chatting about the EU’s Cohesion Policy. But why not actually? After all, development projects funded in the context of the Cohesion Policy account for roughly a third of the EU’s annual budget and the policy is the bloc’s key tool to address social and economic disparities both across and within its Member States. In their article “The EU as a savior and a saint? Corruption and public support for redistribution” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Monika Bauhr and Nicholas Charron address the gap in our knowledge on European citizens’ support for the EU’s cross-border redistribution of resources. Drawing on original survey data tailored to capture public opinion on the EU’s Cohesion Policy in 15 Member States, Monika and Nicholas conclude that citizens generally express some sense of support for redistribution within the EU. However, their analysis shows that this support is shaped by citizens’ perceptions of domestic corruption. Monika and Nicholas find that those who perceive domestic institutions as performing poorly “are more likely to perceive the EU as both a potential ‘savior and saint’, that will ultimately ensure better public service delivery and governance systems less plagued by corruption and mismanagement of public funds.”