N° 38, 2012/3 – Attitudes toward the European Union in the New Member States


edited by Tania Gosselin, 2012/3 (n°38)


Special Report


Tania Gosselin – Support for European Integration in the New Member States: The European Union as Seen through the Prism of Transition


Abel François, Cal Le Gall, Raùl Magni-Berton – Political Economy of EU Support within East and Central European States. Assessing the Impact of EU Accession

This paper proposes an analysis of EU support within East and Central European states in terms of political economy. Within this framework, it has been shown that individual EU support reacts to macroeconomic variables mainly unemployment, growth, and inflation exactly as does support for national governments. However, to show that the EU is deemed by citizens to be a ruling body, we also need to demonstrate that citizens perceptions of the EU change with their country’s accession to the European political system. Based on Eurobarometer surveys conducted three years before and after the 2004 wave of accessions, we analyze economic support for the EU in the eight East and Central European countries that joined European institutions on this occasion. Although our hypothesis is not confirmed in the case of inflation and growth, we find that unemployment did not affect EU support before accession and that it considerably altered this support after 2004, eventually confirming the ruling position of the EU.


Ramona Coman – New Member States and Old Misunderstandings concerning European Integration

This paper examines the discourse of the European Union (EU) among political elites in Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland as their governments were holding the rotating presidency of the EU. It analyzes how the core issues of European integration are discussed in the new Member States and focuses more particularly on the normative content of the elite’s vision for the EU. The analysis uncovers a clash between two main discourses: a traditional national civic discourse sustained by the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and the president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus, and a new republican federalist discourse animated by the Polish prime minister Donald Tusk in the context of the Polish rotating presidency.


Andrea Schlenker – Support for the European Union in Central and Eastern Europe before and after Accession. Comparing Different Reasons

This article analyses the importance of different attitudinal sources of generalized support for the European Union in eight member states in Central and Eastern Europe before and after accession. Instrumental calculations, normative evaluations as well as expressive feelings are key explanatory factors. The results of multiple regression analyses using Eurobarometer data from 2003 to 2006 reveal that the importance of instrumental reasons as predictors for generalized support decreases after accession, while the explanatory power of normative and expressive considerations is constant. The importance of norms and feelings should thus not be underestimated in the new member states.




Frank R. Baumgartner, Martial Foucault, Abel François – Public Budgeting in the EU Commission. A Test of the Punctuated Equilibrium Thesis

We test a punctuated equilibrium model of budgeting in the context of the European Union. Compared either to the US or to the national systems of its member states, we know little about the impact of the institutional design of the EU on its internal budgeting processes. For one, we do not know whether the heterogeneous preferences of each member-state are likely to create friction or venue-shopping towards the EU Commission. This paper first describes European budgeting processes since the inception of the EU, taking into consideration the enlargement process. In a second section, we present European budgeting data to test models of friction, incrementalism, and punctuated equilibrium, drawing from a developing literature with US and European applications. The findings make clear that EU budgeting processes correspond to a punctuated equilibrium model of budgetary choice, as previous studies have recently shown for the US and many European member states.


Amandine Crespy – Explaining Political Parties’ Impotence in EU Policy Making. Social Democracy and the Regulation of Public Services

This paper deals with the weakness of political parties in the formulation of public policy at the European level. It explains why the Party of European Socialists (PES) failed in promoting a regulatory policy that preserves public services from the negative effects of the EU’s competition policy. The salience of national cleavages and the preservation of national arrangements have been strongly established in the literature. This paper puts forward two complementary explanations rooted in both a historical and a discursive-institutionalist approach. The structuring effect of the sectorization of EU policy making on the one hand and the absence of an efficient and shared discursive framing on the other have been insurmountable obstacles.


Areas of Research


Sébastien Michon – Pursuing a Career in European Politics: Arrangements, Specific Skills, and Career Paths. Survey of Students and Former Students of Experts on European Policies


Comparative Readings


Christophe Bouillaud – On the Deceptive Europeanization of Political Parties in Europe


Critical Readings


Michel Mangenot – The Passage to Europe: The History of a Beginning

Amandine Crespy – The European Union and Its Crises through the Eyes of the Brussels Elite