Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration

Room 417 Muirhead Tower
Wednesday 2 May 2018 (15:00-16:30)

Julian Paenke

Professor Catherine De Vries

Speaker: Professor Catherine De Vries (Director of the Essex Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, University of Essex)
Discussant: Dr Charlotte Galpin (POLSIS)
Chair: Dr Julian Paenke (POLSIS)

The European Union (EU) is facing one of the rockiest periods in its existence. No time in its history has it looked so economically fragile, so unsecure about how to protect its borders, so divided over how to tackle the crisis of legitimacy facing its institutions, and so under assault of Eurosceptic parties. The unprecedented levels of integration in recent decades have led to increased public contestation, yet at the same the EU is more reliant on public support for its continued legitimacy than ever before.

Professor Catherine De Vries is presenting her new book titled "Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration". It examines the role of public opinion in the European integration process and develops a novel theory of public opinion that stresses the deep interconnectedness between people's views about European and national politics, and suggests that public opinion cannot simply be characterized as either Eurosceptic or not, but rather consists of different types. This is important because these types coincide with fundamentally different views about the way the EU should be reformed and which policy priorities should be pursued. These types also have very different consequences for behaviour in elections and referenda.

Euroscepticism is such a diverse phenomenon because the Eurozone crisis has exacerbated the structural imbalances within the EU. As the economic and political fates of member states diverged, people's experiences with and evaluations of the EU and national political systems also grew further apart. The heterogeneity in public preferences that this book has uncovered makes a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing Euroscepticism unlikely to be successful.

This European Studies Research Group event is free and open to all.