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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

The Reshaping of Political Conflict: The Changing Relationship between Ideological Dimensions and Party Positions towards European Integration in Western Europe

European Politics
European Union
Political Parties
Electoral Behaviour
European Parliament
Daniela Braun
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Daniela Braun
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Constantin Schäfer
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Sebastian Popa
Universität Mannheim
Hermann Schmitt
Universität Mannheim

What determines the positions of political parties towards the issue of European integration? Empirical research has depicted those positions to be strongly influenced by the two main conflict dimensions of party competition in Europe: first, a socioeconomic conflict between proponents of market liberalization versus the supporters of a more controlled economy and, second, a socio-cultural conflict between the advocates of libertarian and cosmopolitan values versus the inheritors of authoritarian and nationalist values. In this paper, we investigate these relationships across time and space taking into account ‘critical junctures’ of the European integration process by analyzing elections manifestos of parties competing in European Parliament elections (Euromanifestos) from 1979 to 2014. We find that the Maastricht treaty has significantly altered party competition over Europe in Western Europe, but that the Euro crisis has not led to a readjustment between ideological dimensions and party positions towards European integration.
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