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European Elections in Times of Crisis – A Challenge for European Identity?

Constantin Schäfer
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Constantin Schäfer
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Abstract

Public support for European integration has decreased rapidly during the last years, especially in those EU member states that are most hard-hit by the Euro crisis. Nevertheless, this process has obviously not been caused by a comeback of economic and utilitarian factors as direct determinants of EU support. This paper suggests that the economic and financial crisis has rather stirred a public discourse of national withdrawal and more sovereignty in which the citizens’ self-concept as Europeans has suffered significantly all over Europe. It will therefore be analysed how the identification as Europeans has been affected by the crisis and if there has been a “re-nationalisation” of identities that led to the dramatic decline in EU support. Moreover, it will also be given an outlook of how the European elections in this situation have provided a particular challenge for European identity and which role identities have played for the outcome of the elections.