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Public support for differentiated integration: individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination

Dirk Leuffen (University of Konstanz) (Photo: Ines Njer)
Dirk Leuffen (University of Konstanz) (Photo: Ines Njer)
Julian Schuessler (University of Konstanz)
Julian Schuessler (University of Konstanz)
Jana Gómez Díaz (Pompeu Fabre University)
(Photo: Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do EU’s citizens think about the notion of differentiated EU integration? In their recent article, “Public support for differentiated integration: individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination” Dirk Leuffen, Julian Schuessler & Jana Gómez Díaz argue that individuals which support values, such as the freedom of choice and tolerance of unequal outcomes are more likely to appreciate a ‘two-speed Europe’. Both, individual political attitudes concerning economic liberalism, as well as national sociotropic concerns are hypothesized to shape the support for differentiated integration. Using Eurobarometer survey data, the authors show that proponents of a EU of varying speeds do, indeed, display liberal-conservative dispositions, while strong supporters of the equality principle are less supportive of differentiated integration. Furthermore, the analysis sheds light on the role of the national context: citizens in the Southern European member states are more strongly opposed to the concept than citizens in the North and the East – most likely because of the prevalent negative consequences of the Eurozone crisis in these countries. The findings have far-reaching implications for policy makers. If large parts of EU citizens view a ‘two-speed Europe’ as discriminatory and non-solidary, it will be increasingly difficult to promote it as a legitimate tool for future European integration.

 

 

Congruent with whom? Parties’ issue emphases and voter preferences in welfare politics

Michael Pinggera (University of Zurich)

In recent decades, voters’ support for the expansion of the welfare state has increased, as has conflict over its specific design. How have political parties adapted their policy positions in light of this transformation of political demand? In his recently published article “Congruent with whom? Parties’ issue emphases and voter preferences in welfare politics”, Michael Pinggera investigates whether parties’ social policy emphases match the preferences of partisan voters, the median voter, or both. Drawing on original data from election manifestos and individual-level survey data from seven West European countries, Michael shows that parties focus on issues that are overly supported by both partisans and the median voter. Interestingly this finding also holds for radical right parties, even though previous literature would lead to expect that they are closer to their own supporters rather than the general electorate. However, issue emphases across parties differ in line with the demands of the parties’ voters. The findings imply that while politics has become issue-based in recent years, parties still remain representatives of social groups.