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Political Science in Europe

No Alternative to the Community? Identities as Determinants of EU Image in the New Member States after the Crisis

Europe (Central and Eastern)
European Politics
European Union
Aleksandra Sojka
Universidad de Granada
Aleksandra Sojka
Universidad de Granada

Euroscepticism which emerged after accession in the new EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe attracted much attention of the scholars. However, in the recent years the image of the EU became significantly more negative mostly within old member states, while the citizens of the new member states became more neutral in their opinions of European institutions. In this sense, the idea that there is no alternative to EU membership seems to prevail in Central and Eastern Europe, based on perceptions related to economic and security benefits. However, the ongoing economic and financial crisis undermined the positive consensus on the benefits of integration and sparked debates on issues of legitimacy in transnational governance across Europe, highlighting the role of identification with European political institutions. This paper argues that in the context of a perceived declining performance of European economy, the importance of affective and value-based factors must be re-evaluated in studies of EU attitudes. It presents a comparative multi-level analysis of the determinants of the image of the EU in new and old member states, before and after the crisis.
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