European Elections and Democratic Legitimacy

The research here presented has three main macro objectives: 1) understanding how EU citizens support the European institutions and the EU as a whole; 2) investigating the origins of those attitudes by assessing the impact of political issues on support; 3) linking the attitudinal sphere to electoral participation. Those aims perfectly fit the rationale and the objectives of the work packages of my host institution (EUI), as well as of the ELECDEM project as a whole. The analysis required the application of different quantitative methods. Linear regression models, logistic regressions and scalar models (Mokken Scale) have been applied by using both Eurobarometer (EB) and European Election Survey (EES) as well as PIREDEU Manifestos Study data. Results could be summarized in four main points. Firstly, support for Europe is empirically
multidimensional: people distinguish between the legitimation of the European system as whole (diffuse support) and judgments about European policies in different domains (specific support). Both the number of dimensions of support and the degree of distinction differ in the 27 EU member states. In particular, dimensions such as European identity and attitudes towards integration can be distinguished only in part of the EU members. Secondly, saliency and concern for political issues are two related and complementary concepts. The first affects specific support for Europe in some policy domains while the second has also a significant negative effect on diffuse support. European citizens recognize that the EU is an authority in charge of answering political problems and react to its performance. At the same time, thirdly, the relationship between EU citizens and EU institutions (in terms of grievances and answers) is strongly mediated by domestic factors of the national political system. The way people judge Europe at any level is mediated by “domestic lenses” and particularly by governmental performance. Finally, there is no evidence that opposition towards Europe relates to the degree of Skepticism (or Europeism) of the party chosen in 2009 European elections.

Download the full report: WP11_Danilo Di Mauro_ER Final Report (PDF 11,538KB)

Further details of workpackage 11.

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