Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series
Edited by Dieter Fuchs and Hans-Dieter Klingemann
Chapter 9: Explaining Support for European Integration: An Attitudinal Model
Dieter Fuchs 9.1 Introduction Since the beginning of the 1990s, scientific interest in explaining support or rejection for European integration has soared. This development has at least two causes. First, following the Treaty of Maastricht (1992), a number of European Union (EU) member states have conducted referenda concerning European issues and in some of these referenda citizens have rejected the agreements forged by political elites. Second, many observers assert that there has been an increase in Euroscepticism since Maastricht (cf. contributions by Hooghe and Marks 2007 published in a special issue of Acta Politica on ‘understanding Euroscepticism’). Thus, even if we do not reflect upon the degree to which Euroscepticism has spread and increased,1 it is clear that over the course of time European integration has become politicized to an extent that no longer allows for it to be conducted as an elite project. Rather it requires the support of the citizens. The question then is why do citizens support or reject European integration? The question has been addressed by a plethora of studies and ‘yet there is no scholarly consensus on the answer’ (Hooghe and Marks 2005, p. 420). This may be partly due to the fact that extant studies draw on different explanatory strategies. Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks (2005) have sought to further the discussion by pursuing a synthetic approach which aggregates the most relevant ‘families of explanation’. A similar approach can be found in Lauren McLaren’s works (2007; cf. also 2006). The following analysis will...
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