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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

The EP Election 2019: A Vote for Whom?

European Politics
European Union
Comparative Perspective
Public Opinion
Guillem Vidal
European University Institute
Edgar Grande
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Guillem Vidal
European University Institute

In the politically turbulent aftermath of the Great Recession, the 2019 EP elections constitute a puzzling scenario for the future of the EU. On the one hand, nationalist parties with an anti-EU discourse are expected to gain an unprecedented number of seats in EP, posing a threat to the long-lasting political majority of mainstream groups. On the other hand, new transnational pro-EU parties such as Volt or European Spring are running in these elections for the first time, responding to the ambitious challenge of creating an EU-wide electorate beyond national boundaries. The clash between a national and a transnational viewpoint is already a political reality in the national sphere of several European countries, and it is likely to intensify and translate to the EU level in the coming years. What does this imply in terms of representation dynamics for the EU? Does the politicization of a new transnational cleavage bring the electorate and parties closer by producing a new kind of supranational alignment? Relying on an original dataset of the EP 2019 campaigns in five north-Western European countries (i.e. Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and the UK), this article explores the structures of competition and politicization that articulate this election. More concretely, survey data is also used to assess the extent to which there is a congruence or divergence in voter-party positions and preferences on a range of issues to explore whether these elections are indeed critical and have shifted previous patterns of representation in EU politics.
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