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Inverted Performance Model? The Euro-Crisis and Trust in National Institutions in New Member States of the EU

Aleksandra Sojka
Universidad de Granada
Aleksandra Sojka
Universidad de Granada

The Eastward enlargement of the EU constituted an opportunity for further modernization and stabilization of the democratic institutions of Central-Eastern Europe. Therefore, initial support for EU membership in the new member countries has been linked to a discontent with the performance of their yet weak domestic institutions, while Euroskepticism has been observed to be more pronounced in countries with higher levels of satisfaction with the workings of national democracy (Ilonszky 2010). However, in the recent years the financial and economic crisis has (further) undermined the legitimacy of the EU institutions and eroded support for the European integration project. In this context, the goal of the paper is to propose an “inverted performance model” and verify how EU citizens’ perceptions of the political and economic crisis at the supranational level influence their attitudes towards the domestic political system. One hypothesis could be that citizens of the new member states, who no longer perceive the EU as their panacea, could turn to their national institutions. However, it is also possible that since the national political institutions might be perceived as part of the bigger supranational system of decision-making where the democratic deficit becomes more and more visible, citizens might feel excluded and, thus, loose trust in both levels of governance. In order to test both possibilities the paper presents a comparative study of the patterns of support for the EU and trust in European and national institutions in the new member states of the EU and proposes an explanatory model of trust in domestic institutions in EU-27 taking into account the explanatory potential of attitudes towards the EU and perceptions of the crisis, and the effect of new member states. The data used for the analysis is the Eurobarometer survey.
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