Why this project?
The European Union (EU) is currently under serious stress. It has come under the greatest challenge since the early stages of integration in the 1950s. The Eurozone crisis has revealed the need for income redistribution across EU member states, placing a severe strain on EU solidarity. Europe has been divided between countries inside and outside the Eurozone and between creditor and debtor countries. This has triggered growing opposition to the European project. Euroscepticism has now become a buzzword. Trends in public opinion have substantively deteriorated in the wake of the crisis and Eurosceptic parties from both the right and the left of the political spectrum have been gathering strength in several countries. However, little is known about the changing nature of Euroscepticism in times of severe economic and political crisis, and whether the tools and frameworks that we have developed to study Euroscepticism prior to the crisis are also applicable in a period when the very premise of European unity is under threat.
Which questions does this project seek to answer?
The ‘Euroscepticism: dimensions, causes and consequences in times of crisis’ project aims to explore, understand and explain the changing nature of Euroscepticism in times of crisis.
The project aims to answer the following interrelated questions:
- How may we map and understand the different dimensions of Euroscepticism in times of crisis?
- What are the underlying causes of Euroscepticism in times of crisis and what may explain variation in levels of Euroscepticism at the country, party and individual levels?
- How does Euroscepticism feed back into national politics in terms of its consequences on domestic political behaviour?
What is the project’s empirical approach?
The project offers an original contribution to the study of Euroscepticism by integrating three research objectives, which aim at (1) mapping and identifying the different dimensions of Euroscepticism and understanding whether these have changed as a result of the crisis; (2) exploring the underlying causes of Euroscepticism and explaining variation in levels of Euroscepticism at the country, party and individual levels; and (3) assessing the ways in which Euroscepticism feeds back into national politics by testing its consequences on domestic political behaviour.
This project relies on a novel interdisciplinary longitudinal and comparative research design and applies an original multi-method approach through the complementary use of quantitative and experimental methods.
It examines the dimensions and causes of Euroscepticism through an analysis of cross-sectional and time series data in all EU member states. The longitudinal design enables us to compare Euroscepticism in the periods prior to and during the crisis.
It studies the consequences of Euroscepticism on domestic political behaviour by focusing on three countries, namely Britain, Germany and Greece, which are non-Eurozone members, creditor and debtor countries, respectively.