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Catherine E. de Vries: Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration


The European Union (EU) is facing one of the rockiest periods in its
existence. At no time in its history has it 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 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. This book examines the role of public opinion in the European
integration process. It develops a novel theory of public opinion that
stresses the deep interconnectedness between people’s views about
European and national politics. It suggests that public opinion cannot
simply be characterized as either Eurosceptic or not, but rather that it
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
referendums. 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 have diverged, people’s
experiences with and evaluations of the EU and national political systems
have also grown 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.

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Author Biography

Jan Kovář

Jan Kovář is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International
Relations, Prague. His research focuses on European Parliament elections,
party attitudes towards European integration and narratives and portrayals
of migrants and refugees, primarily as they relate to Central and Eastern
European countries. You can find more information at the IIR website: