HSR Vol. 41 (2016) 4
Special Issue - Lars Vogel & Juan Rodríguez-Teruel (Eds.): National Political Elites and the Crisis of European Integration, Country Studies 2007-2014.
European Integration is currently facing tremendous challenges caused by a series of cumulating crises. Their onset was the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 that rapidly evolved into a sovereign debt crisis, further into a crisis of the Eurozone and led eventually to a political crisis of the entire EU. National political elites have been among the core actors to cope with these challenges. Their behaviour is driven by their Europeanness, i.e. their emotionally and rationally determined attitudes, cognitions and strategies regarding European Integration. To take elites’ greater influence accordingly into account this HSR Special Issue analyzes the shape and determinants of national elites’ Europeanness and the way it developed during the crises.
The analysis is based on country studies covering 10 EU Member States that represent the main regions within the EU and the salient conflict lines during these crises. It makes use of a unique research design that integrates three surveys among national parliamentarians conducted by the IntUne and the ENEC research projects in 2007, 2009 and 2014 thereby spanning the various stages of the crises. The contributions demonstrate that the crises have affected national elites’ Europeanness in complex ways that are determined by the diversing impact they had on the investigated countries and by how elites perceive the efficiency of supranational integration to cope with them. Beyond national differences, the general evaluations of Europeanness remain quite stable pro-European while preferences regarding the concrete organization of integration are rather prone to change. Elites’ Europeanness primarily shifts in countries, in which strong Eurosceptic parties gained ground during the mentioned crisis indicating that there is the still overwhelmingly pro-European elites are faced with the challenge of responsiveness to an increasingly Eurosceptic population.
Furthermore, HSR 41 (2016) 4 contains three contributions in Mixed Issue.