Is the Honeymoon Over? Explaining Italy's Mass Support and Opposition towards Europe

Perspectives on European Politics and Society
Volume 15, Issue 2, 2014 (pages 143-164)

Special Issue: Europe at Stake: European Union in Italian Politics and Society

Is the Honeymoon Over? Explaining Italy's Mass Support and Opposition towards Europe
Danilo Di Mauro
DOI:10.1080/15705854.2014.885769 (Published online: 3 March 2014)

The research presented in this article focuses on support and opposition towards Europe in Italy. In particular, it aims to understand and explain the progressive growing opposition towards EU institutions within Italian public opinion. For decades, both Italian media and political parties have depicted Italy as one of the strongest pro-European countries. However, more recently, Italian public opinion started to look at Europe with more critical eyes, while the consensus of Eurosceptic parties grew. Although the downturn in Italian support for Europe appears evident, both its causes and consequences are largely under-investigated. The purpose of this paper is to fill in this analytical gap by looking at the origins of diffuse support for Europe in Italy. The analysis proceeds through a three-stage strategy, aiming to observe: 1) the explanatory factors of diffuse support in Italy, 2) the effects of the economic crisis on the sentiments of support and 3) the European identity of the Italian public. The data have been supplied by the Eurobarometer series since 1990 and analysed through logistic and linear models. Findings reveal the indirect effects of the current economic crisis on diffuse support for Europe in Italy, since trust towards the national government and perceptions of EU utility decrease for the effects of the recession.

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