Sample: The European Union


Sampled below is the Preface, Introduction, and Chapter Ten from The European Union, Sixth Edition, by Jonathan Olsen and John McCormick.


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Table of Contents

Tables and Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
About the Authors
Acronyms and Abbreviations


Part I: History

1 What Is the European Union?
Chapter Overview
The Role of the State
How Did the EU Evolve?
What Has the EU Become?
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
2 Origins: The Road to Paris
Chapter Overview
The Taming of Europe
Economic Reconstruction and the Marshall Plan
Security and the Cold War
Opening Moves: Coal and Steel (1950–1953)
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
3 Emergence: To the Single Market and Beyond
Chapter Overview
From Paris to Rome (1955–1958)
Integration Takes Root (1958–1968)
The Role of the United States
Enlargement: Looking North and South (1960–1986)
Toward Economic and Monetary Union (1969–1993)
Completing the Single Market (1983–1993)
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
4 Consolidation and Crises: Maastricht, Lisbon, and the Eurozone
Chapter Overview
From Community to Union (1970–1993)
The Euro Arrives (1995–2002)
Changes to the Treaties: Amsterdam and Nice (1997–2001)
Blowback from Iraq (2003–2005)
More Enlargement: Looking East (1994–2013)
From Lisbon to the Eurozone Crisis (2001–)
Questions to Consider
Further Reading

Part II: Institutions

5 The European Commission
Chapter Overview
How the Commission Works
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
6 The Council of the European Union
Chapter Overview
How the Council Works
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
7 The European Parliament
Chapter Overview
Political Groups in the European Parliament
How Parliament Works
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
8 The Court of Justice of the European Union
Chapter Overview
Sources of European Union Law
How the Court Works
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
9 The European Council, the European Central Bank, and Other Institutions
Chapter Overview
How the Council Works
Specialized Institutions and Agencies
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
10 Representing Public Opinion
Chapter Overview
Public Opinion in the EU
European Elections
Interest Groups
Questions to Consider
Further Reading

Part III: Policies

11 Public Policy and the Budget of the EU
Chapter Overview
The Policy Cycle
Features of the Policy Process
The Budget
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
12 Economic Policy and the Single Market
Chapter Overview
The Single Market and Europe 2020
The Euro
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
13 Cohesion, Justice and Home Affairs, and Other Internal Policies
Chapter Overview
Building a Level Playing Field
Social Policy
Justice and Home Affairs
Education and Languages
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
14 Agricultural and Environmental Policy
Chapter Overview
Agricultural Policy
Environmental Policy
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
15 The EU and the World
Chapter Overview
Toward a Common Foreign Policy
Toward a Common Security Policy
Trade Policy
Developments in the Neighborhood: Eastern Europe and Russia
Relations with BRIC Countries
Development Cooperation
Questions to Consider
Further Reading
16 The EU and the United States
Chapter Overview
The Changing International System
The Transatlantic Relationship
A Litany of Disputes
Explaining the Differences
Questions to Consider
Further Reading


Appendix 1 Chronology of European Integration
Appendix 2 Sources of Information


Preface and Acknowledgments

Although the crisis that broke in the eurozone in 2009 has given policy makers many sleepless nights, it also has had the effect of drawing wider public attention to an entity about which many Americans knew little: the European Union (EU). Since the early 1950s, Europeans have been working to remove the political, economic, and social barriers that have long divided them, and the result has been the development of the world’s newest superpower, the world’s wealthiest marketplace and trading power, and the possible precursor to a United States of Europe.

Worries about the stability of the eurozone and Greece have combined with the “Brexit” and an alarming refugee crisis to raise some deeply troubling questions about the EU’s capacity for decisive action, but it still remains a powerful actor in the world—one that is important for Americans to understand: the EU is one of our biggest trading partners, it is our most influential and dependable ally in an uncertain world, and its emergence has been one of the defining events of the modern era, helping reorder the international system and bringing to Europe the longest spell of general peace that it has seen in centuries. The achievements of the EU in this last regard were recognized in 2012 when it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. The EU has helped promote democracy and economic development throughout Europe; it has helped more than half a billion Europeans overcome their political, economic, and social divisions; and it stands as a prime example of how peaceful means can bring lasting change.

But in spite of all this, it remains—for most people—a mystery and an enigma. Few Americans know much about it beyond the euro, and even Europeans are perplexed: most support the idea of “Europe” in principle but also admit that they know little about how the EU works, who makes the decisions, or how the EU has changed their lives. Enthusiasm for the EU is harder to find than ambivalence, indifference, or outright hostility. There are several reasons for the confusion:

  • The EU is unique. There has never been anything quite like it before, and it fits few of our usual ideas about politics and government. Is it an international organization, a new European superstate, or something in between? How much authority does it have relative to its member states? How do its powers and structure differ from those of a conventional national government?
  • It is not always well explained. Publishing on the EU has been a growth industry in the last decade, but much of it is bogged down in a morass of treaty articles and arcane jargon and sidetracked by inconclusive debates over theory. The EU is one of today’s most important and dramatic political and economic developments, full of fascinating characters and driven by conflicts, conspiracies, successes, crises, and failures, and yet much of the scholarly writing about the EU makes it sound dull, technocratic, and legalistic.
  • The EU keeps changing. Just when we think we have begun to understand it, a new treaty comes along that gives it new powers, or its leaders agree to a new set of goals that give it a different character and appearance, or new member states join, changing its personality and its structure, or new crises arise, demanding new action. Change is, of course, a core feature of politics and government everywhere, but the European target tends to move more quickly than most, with no certainty about where exactly it is headed.

Having taught courses on the EU for many years, and having worked with instructors teaching similar courses at other colleges and universities, we are familiar with the challenge of explaining the EU. As the power and influence of Europe grows, so does the importance of clear guidance through the complexities of the EU, and detailed analysis that offers observers the context they need to better appreciate the implications of European integration. It was concerns such as these that prompted the writing of this book, which sets out to help answer four fundamental questions:

  • What is the EU?
  • How did it evolve?
  • What does it do?
  • What difference does it make?

The first edition was written in 1993–1995, when the European Union was still adapting to the near completion of the single market, struggling with preparations for the single currency, and mired in the fallout from the serial foreign policy embarrassments of the Gulf War and the Balkan conflicts. There was relatively little public or political interest in the EU at the time; there were few textbooks that provided an introduction to the EU and none written specifically for American students. Since then—­reflecting the new levels of interest in the EU—many more textbooks have been written about the EU, but this sixth edition of The European Union: Politics and Policies retains its core goals of informing mainly American students, explaining how the EU functions from first principles, and explaining how and why the EU matters for those of us on this side of the Atlantic. It is also unusual because it is written more from the perspective of comparative politics and public policy than that of international relations; scholars from the latter subdiscipline have tended to dominate the research and writing on the EU for several decades.

In the last edition of this book Jonathan Olsen joined John McCormick as coauthor. As with previous editions, in this new sixth edition we have tried to keep the presentation simple enough for the introductory student (who most often is exposed to the EU in a one-semester course on European politics and the EU) yet detailed enough to provide a comprehensive overview of the EU’s history, institutions, and policies. Every chapter begins with a bulleted overview and ends with questions for discussion, along with a list of recommended readings that provides the most recent, readable, and enlightening Anglo-American sources. The book ends with a glossary of key terms, a chronology of events, and recommended sources of further information. The EU changes so much and so rapidly that texts on it date quickly, so this new edition—while keeping the same basic structure as its predecessors—has been significantly overhauled and updated:

  • Chapter 4 has been rewritten and expanded to incorporate substantial developments since 2013, including the Greek crisis, the Brexit (Britain’s withdrawal from the EU), and the ongoing refugee crisis.
  • The chapters on institutions (5–10) have been revised to account for developments since 2013 and to inject new analytical material, such as the selection process for the president of the Commission and the expanded role of the European Central Bank. Chapters 7 and 10 have been restructured and substantially updated in order to give a clearer picture of the workings of the European Parliament and of public opinion in Europe and the results of the 2014 EP elections.
  • The chapters on policy (11–15) have been overhauled to include all the latest developments in the different policy areas. The chapters on the EU’s relations with the United States and with the rest of the world have been thoroughly revised. Those on economic policy and the single market and on agricultural, environmental, and cohesion policy have been restructured and updated. There is completely new material on topics such as the euro and economic policy; the European Central Bank; justice and home affairs; and the EU’s relations with the BRIC countries (Britain, Russia, India, China) and the Middle East.
  • Several of the boxes have been replaced; new figures, tables, and maps have been added and existing ones have been updated; and the titles in the lists of Further Reading have been updated to reflect newer scholarship. For the first time, photographs have been added to many of the chapters.
  • A number of the “Chapter Overview” and “Questions to Consider” sections in each chapter have been revised.
  • Throughout the book, even more emphasis has been placed on the relationship between the United States and the EU: on the similarities and differences in their institutional structures; on what effects U.S. foreign policy has had on European integration; on changes in the relationship between the two actors; on the comparisons that can be made regarding their character, values, and places in the global system; and on what they mean for each other.

The biggest influence on this book has come from the students in the courses we have taught on European politics at our respective universities. It was their needs and concerns that drove the first edition, and their responses have since been the driving force in the revisions that came with each new edition. Both of us would like to thank the anonymous reviewers drafted by Westview to comment on this new edition, and the editorial team at Westview Press for their encouragement and their fine job on production. Jonathan thanks his family, friends, and colleagues at Texas Woman’s University for their continued support of this project. A special thanks goes out to Farida Khan of the University of Wisconsin–Parkside for her help with economic data. John gives his thanks and love to his wife, Leanne, and their two sons, Ian and Stuart, who are good at reminding him that there is life outside the academy.



We cannot aim at anything less than the union of Europe as a whole, and we look forward with confidence to the day when that union will be achieved.

—Winston Churchill, The Hague Congress, May 1948

That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era.

—Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, 2003

The European Union is the world’s wealthiest capitalist marketplace, the world’s biggest trading power, and—along with the United States—one of the two most influential political actors in the world. Its emergence has changed the character and definition of Europe, helped bring to the region the longest uninterrupted spell of general peace in its recorded history, and altered the balance of global power by helping Europeans reassert themselves on the world stage. By building a single market and developing common policies in a wide range of different areas, Europeans have come to relate to each other differently and have set aside many of their traditional differences in the interests of cooperation. The EU has brought fundamental changes to the way Europe functions, the way it is seen by others, and the way others—most notably the United States—work with Europe.

And yet the European project has raised many doubts and attracted many critics, even more so in the wake of a severe debt crisis that has tested the staying power of the euro, the EU’s common currency. Some question the wisdom of European states transferring authority to a joint system of governance that is often criticized for its elitism and its lack of accountability and transparency. Others debate whether the EU works as efficiently as it might and whether it has outgrown itself. It is often faulted for its inability to reach common agreement on critical foreign and security policy issues (such as the recent refugee crisis in Europe and how to deal with the Syrian civil war) and to match its economic and political power with military power.

Skeptics have routinely drawn attention to the EU’s economic difficulties, to its mixed record on dealing with ethnic and religious diversity, and to worries about demographic trends as birthrates decline and Europeans become older. For journalists and academics it has become almost de rigueur to talk and write of the crises in European governance, to point with alarm and foreboding at the latest example of a failure by European leaders to agree, and to question the long-term viability of the EU. Indeed, in the light of recent economic problems, Brexit, and a troubling refugee crisis, some have even begun to doubt whether the European project will survive or whether the EU can truly be considered a world powerhouse.

In a 2012 editorial in the New York Times, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash argued that to include the EU with the United States and China in a “global Big Three” would be to invite laughter from elites in Beijing, Washington, or other world capitals. For Garton Ash, the crisis in the eurozone had demonstrated that the “five great drivers of European unification”—the legacy of “never again” left behind by World War II; the Soviet threat; the determination of Germany, as Europe’s economic powerhouse, to sacrifice its own interests for those of Europe; the desire of Eastern European countries to belong to a common Europe; and the assumption that the EU would mean a continuous rise in living standards—have been exhausted. If the EU is really going to play the role it sees itself as playing, Garton Ash concludes, then it will have to pursue a course of more thoroughgoing integration, with a common identity and more comprehensive and muscular policies, from the social and economic spheres to—most especially—foreign affairs and security issues.[1]

Meanwhile, many Europeans are puzzled about how the EU functions and uncertain about how they feel about the changes it seems to have made in their lives. Americans are even more puzzled; many are—or at least have been, until recently—only vaguely aware of the EU’s existence and do not yet fully understand what difference it has made to Europe or to transatlantic relations. American political leaders are more attuned to its implications, as are corporate and financial leaders who have had to learn to deal as much with a twenty-eight-member regional grouping as with each of the individual states in the EU; even American tourists have noticed a difference as they use the euro in place of many different national currencies. But doubts remain about the bigger picture and about what difference the EU has made. To complicate matters, there is no agreement on just how we should define and understand the EU. It is not a European superstate, and suggestions that it might one day become a United States of Europe are greeted with a volatile mixture of enthusiasm and hostility.

The origins of the EU, and the motives behind European integration, are relatively clear. Frustrated and appalled by war and conflict, many Europeans argued over the centuries in favor of setting aside national differences in the collective interest. The first serious thoughts about a peaceful and voluntary union came after the horrors of World War I, but the concept matured following the devastation of World War II, when the most serious Europeanists spoke of replacing national governments with a European federation. They dreamed of integrating European economies and removing controls on the movement of people, money, goods, and services; they were driven by the desire to promote peace and to build a single European market that could compete with the United States.

The first tangible step came in April 1951 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), set up at least in part to prove a point about the feasibility and benefits of regional integration. Progress in the 1950s and 1960s was modest, but then the European Economic Community (EEC) was launched, membership began to expand, the goals of integration became more ambitious, and we now have today’s European Union: an entity that has its own institutions and body of laws, twenty-eight member states and more than 500 million residents, a common currency used by more than half its members, and increasing agreement on a wide range of common policy areas. The Cold War–era political and economic divisions between Western and Eastern Europe have almost disappeared, and it is now less realistic to think of European states in isolation than as partners in an ever-changing European Union. The fudge word integration is used more often than unification to describe what has been happening, but those who champion the EU suggest that political union of some kind is almost inevitable. It may not be a United States of Europe, and it may turn out to be a loose association in which more power rests with the member states, but they find it hard to imagine a future in which European political union is not a reality.


Part 1 (Chapters 1–4) provides context by first surveying the most important theories and concepts of regional integration and then showing how and why the EU has evolved. Giving the background on the earliest ideas about European unification sets the scene for the creation of the ECSC, whose founding members were France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. This was followed in 1957 by the signing of the two Treaties of Rome, which created the EEC and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). With the same six members as the ECSC, the EEC set out to build an integrated multinational economy among its members, to achieve a customs union, to encourage free trade, and to harmonize standards, laws, and prices among its members. It witnessed greater productivity, channeled new investment into industry and agriculture, and became more competitive in the world market.

By the late 1960s, the EEC had all the trappings of a new level of European government, based mainly in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Analysts refused to describe it as a full-blown political system, but it had its own executive and bureaucracy (the European Commission), its own protolegislature (the European Parliament), its own judiciary (the Court of Justice), and its own legal system. Over time, the word economic was dropped from the name, giving way to the European Community (EC). Its successes drew new members, starting with Britain, Denmark, and Ireland in 1973, and moving on to Greece, Portugal, and Spain in the 1980s, East Germany joining via German unification, and Austria, Finland, and Sweden joining in the 1990s. The most recent round of enlargement came in 2004–2007 with the addition of twelve mainly Eastern European member states, including Hungary, Poland, and the three former Soviet Baltic states. Croatia became the EU’s newest member in 2013. The character and reach of integration have been changed along the way with revisions to the founding treaties:

  • In 1987 the Single European Act (SEA) led to the elimination of almost all remaining barriers to the movement of people, money, goods, and services among the twelve member states.
  • In 1993 the Maastricht treaty on European Union committed the EC to the creation of a single currency, a common citizenship, and a common foreign and security policy and gave new powers over law and policy to the EC institutions. It also made the EC part of a broader new entity called the European Union.
  • In 1998 and 2003 the treaties of Amsterdam and Nice built on these changes, fine-tuned the powers of the institutions, and helped prepare the EU for new members from Eastern Europe.
  • An attempt was made in 2002–2004 to provide focus and permanence by replacing the accumulated treaties with a European constitution. But the finished product was lengthy, detailed, and controversial, and it had to be ratified by every EU member state before it could come into force. When French and Dutch voters turned it down in 2005, there was another brief “crisis” before European leaders reached agreement in 2007 to draw up a new treaty based on much of the content of the failed constitution.
  • The resulting Treaty of Lisbon fundamentally reformed several of the EU’s institutions and attempted to give more coherence to the Union’s policies, even while avoiding the language and trappings of a constitution that had been unpopular with many EU citizens.

The European Union today is the largest economic bloc in the world, accounting for about one-fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP) and almost 20 percent of global trade. It has replaced many of its national currencies with a new single currency, the euro, which has taken its place alongside the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen as one of the world’s primary currencies (its recent problems notwithstanding). Although this is beginning to come under some strain, there is now virtually unlimited free movement of people, money, goods, and services among most of its member states. The EU has its own flag (a circle of twelve gold stars on a blue background) and its own anthem (“Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), national passports have been replaced with a uniform EU passport, and in many ways Brussels has become the new capital of Europe.

Part 2 (Chapters 5–10) looks at the European institutions, explaining how they work and how they relate to each other. Their powers and authority have grown steadily since the 1950s, although their work is often misunderstood by Europeans, and analysts continue to disagree over their character and significance. There are five main institutions:

  • The European Commission. Based in Brussels, this is the executive and administrative branch of the EU, responsible for developing new EU laws and policies and for overseeing their implementation.
  • The Council of the EU. Also based in Brussels, this is the major decision-­making body of the EU, made up of government ministers from each of the member states. Working with the European Parliament, the Council makes the votes that turn Commission proposals into European law.
  • The European Parliament. Divided among Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Brussels, the members of the European Parliament are directly elected to five-year terms by the voters of the member states. Although it cannot introduce proposals for new laws, Parliament can discuss Commission proposals, and it has equal powers with the Council of Ministers over adoption.
  • The European Court of Justice. Based in Luxembourg, the Court interprets national and EU law and helps build a common body of law that is uniformly applied throughout the member states. It bases its decisions on the treaties, which in some respects function as a constitution of the EU.
  • The European Council. This is less an institution than a forum, consisting of the political leaders of the member states. They meet at least four times per year to make broad decisions on policy, the details of which are worked out by the Commission and the Council of the EU.

Part 3 (Chapters 11–16) focuses on the policies pursued by the European Union, looking at what integration has meant for the member states and for Europeans themselves. Covering economic, monetary, agricultural, cohesion, environmental, social, foreign, and security policies, this section examines the EU policy-making process, identifies the key influences on that process, and looks at its consequences and implications. The final chapter focuses on relations between the EU and the United States, which have blown hot and cold over the years.

Because European integration continues to be a work in progress, with a final destination that remains unclear, the relative balance of power among national governments and EU institutions is still evolving. That balance will continue to change as more countries join the EU and as integration reaches further into the lives of Europeans. All of this raises the key question: Why should Americans care about the EU? More specifically: What does it matter on this side of the Atlantic, and what effect will these changes have on our lives?

The most immediate implications are economic. Through most of the Cold War, the U.S. had it relatively good: it was the world’s biggest national economy and national exporter, it had the world’s strongest and most respected currency, its corporations dominated the international marketplace and sold their products and services all over the world, and it led the world in the development of new technology. But much has changed in recent decades with the rise of competition first from Japan, then from Europe, and increasingly from China and India. The U.S. still has the world’s biggest national economy, but the combined European market is significantly larger, and its population is nearly two-thirds bigger. European corporations are becoming bigger, more numerous, and more competitive, and the EU long ago displaced the U.S. as the world’s biggest exporter and importer. And as one of the world’s economic powers, naturally the EU’s economic problems also have global economic significance.


All of this also applies to the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and EU. The EU is the United States’ largest trading partner, with about one-fifth of its merchandise trade with the EU. The EU is also the source of about two-thirds of all the foreign direct investment in the United States and Canada, most of it coming from Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Germany. Subsidiaries of European companies employ several million Americans—more than the affiliates of all other countries combined—and account for about 15 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the United States and Canada. U.S. corporations, meanwhile, have made their biggest overseas investments in the EU. We often see and hear worried analyses in North America about the rise of China, but while the volume of Chinese exports to the U.S. is certainly catching up with that from the EU, Europe is still by far the most important economic partner of the United States.

The rise of the EU also has important political implications for North America. During the Cold War the most critical political relationship in the world was that between the United States and the Soviet Union—much else that happened in the world was determined by the attempts of the two adversaries to outwit and outmaneuver one another. With the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, it became usual to see the United States described as the world’s last remaining superpower, and even perhaps as a hyperpower. But while the United States is unmatched in the size, reach, and firepower of its military, globalization has helped make political and economic relationships as important as investments in the ability to wage war. The U.S. spends almost as much on defense every year as the rest of the world combined, but this has not guaranteed its security, and in the view of many critics has actually made both the U.S. and the world less safe.

Meanwhile, the political influence of the EU has grown. Its economic might cannot be ignored; its policy positions have often been less controversial than many of those taken by the United States; and while the U.S. is associated (not always fairly) with hard power (coercion, threats, and the use of military force), the EU is associated with soft power (diplomacy, economic opportunity, and negotiation). The contrast is clear in the records of the U.S. and the EU on the promotion of democracy. Recent American leaders have made much of the importance of spreading democracy, but they have invested more time and money in using military means to achieve their objectives. Meanwhile, the promise of access to the European marketplace or even—for the select few—of membership in the European Union has arguably had a greater effect on promoting lasting democratic change and economic development, at least for Europe’s closest neighbors. This reasoning led to the European Union receiving the 2012 Nobel Prize for Peace.

Just in the past few years, the relative roles of the United States and the European Union in the international system have been transformed. During the Cold War, Western Europe relied on the United States for security guarantees and economic investment. The two partners gave the impression that they saw eye to eye and made many public statements of solidarity. But behind the scenes there were tensions and crises as they disagreed over policy and over how to deal with the Soviet threat. Since the end of the Cold War, the disagreements have spilled into the open. The two are now economic competitors, Europeans are less willing to accede to U.S. policy leadership, and the two have become increasingly aware of what divides them. They differ not just over the use of military power but on how to deal with many international problems (including terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation, the Arab­-Israeli problem, and conflict in the Middle East in general) and on a wide range of social values and norms. The result has been the emergence of two models of government, two sets of opinions about how the world works, and two sets of possible responses to pressing international concerns.

For all these reasons, we cannot ignore the European Union, nor can we understand the world today without understanding how the EU works and how it has altered the balance of global power. Indeed, even the EU’s problems and challenges have worldwide implications. Not everyone is convinced that European integration is a good idea or that the EU has been able to fully capitalize on its assets and resources, but—like it or not—the changes it has wrought cannot be significantly undone. The pace of global political and economic change is accelerating, and the results of the European experiment have fundamentally changed the way in which the world functions and the place of the United States in the international system.


[1] Timothy Garton Ash, “Can Europe Survive the Rise of the Rest?,” New York Times, September 2, 2012, B5.

Chapter 10

Representing Public Opinion

Chapter Overview

  • Europeans have ambivalent attitudes about the EU. While many are generally strongly supportive of the European project and have a European identity above and beyond their national ones, others feel that their voices are not heard within the union, have low levels of trust in the EU, and express skepticism about its direction. This is one reason that some have failed to develop a strong psychological attachment to the EU.
  • Referendums are one way in which EU citizens can voice their opinions on the EU. However, the use of referendums has had several distinct disadvantages, not the least of which has been their capacity to make integration more difficult.
  • Another important way that citizens can make their views about the EU known is through direct elections to the European Parliament. Although such elections remain the most visible of ways in which EU citizens can directly engage with the EU, turnout has fallen since the first elections in 1979.
  • In recent years, interest groups have directed more of their attention to Brussels as EU policy has had more impact on the lives of Europeans. The work of interest groups has helped strengthen the legitimacy and responsiveness of the EU decision-making system.

As the powers and reach of the European Union have grown, and as it has taken on more of the conventional features of a political system, so more Europeans have become interested in trying to influence its work. Even as late as the 1980s, European affairs attracted relatively little public attention, but—particularly since the Single European Act (SEA), Maastricht, the failed attempt in 2004–2005 to agree on a constitution for the EU, Greece and problems in the eurozone, and the migrant crisis—more people have come to realize that the EU affects their lives and have taken an interest in EU politics. For some this has been a positive interest, driven by a belief that the EU institutions play an important role in European affairs. For others it is a negative interest, driven by perceptions that the EU institutions are undemocratic and too powerful.

Although each of the individual member states of the EU has a well-­developed civil society, the same cannot yet be said of the EU. Its institutions have long had a reputation among Europeans for being elitist and bureaucratic, and there is still a troubling distance between the EU and many of its citizens. This is one reason for the less than positive image of the EU among some. Nevertheless, a European civil society is slowly emerging, thanks mainly to three developments. First, there is the psychological effect of elections to the European Parliament. National elections are still considered more important by voters and political leaders, and European elections are often fought on national issues and approached by voters as opportunities to comment on the performance of their national governments.

Second, referendums—used irregularly by different member states—offer voters the opportunity to express themselves on European matters and to periodically turn their attention to some of the big questions that face Europe. Some are votes on national policy (for example, joining the EU has been subject to confirmation in several countries, and in one country—Norway—majorities have twice voted against membership). Other referendums have had Europe-wide significance; for example, the ratifications of the Maastricht and Nice treaties were delayed by negative votes in Denmark and Ireland, respectively, and the European constitution was stopped in its tracks by negative votes in France and the Netherlands. The absence of referendums in some countries has also been significant, heightening criticisms of the manner in which some of the most important decisions on Europe are made.

Finally, as EU policy has had more impact on the lives of Europeans, so interest groups have directed more of their attention to Brussels. Interest groups are invited to participate in the early planning stages of new legislative proposals, have developed often strong links with the Commission, are used by the Commission as a source of expertise and to report on the implementation of EU law by member states, and are generally seen as an increasingly effective channel for changing EU policy. Their work has helped strengthen the legitimacy and responsiveness of the EU decision-­making system.

Public Opinion in the EU

One of the prerequisites for a successful political system is a strong civil society, consisting of all the voluntary and spontaneous forms of political association that evolve within a state and are not formally part of the state system but show that citizens can operate independently of the state.[1] The EU is not a state, but it has institutions responsible for making decisions that affect the lives of the people who live within its borders, and in order for it to succeed, Europeans must feel that the EU matters and that they can engage with its work.

Unfortunately, Europeans are ambivalent about the EU. Some are supportive, believing that it serves a valuable purpose and arguing that its member states—and individual Europeans—have benefited from its creation and development. Others, known most often as Euroskeptics, are less supportive of the EU, believing that it is a harmful development and regretting the shift of sovereignty away from the member states to the EU institutions.[2] In between, many Europeans do not have strong feelings one way or the other, do not fully understand how the EU works or what impact it has had on their lives, and engage with its work only sporadically. In that sense, the EU is much like a national political system; the balance in the United States between those who are politically engaged, those who are not, and those who do not much care is not so different.

Some of the skepticism about and disengagement with the EU is reflected in EU citizens’ level of trust. Only about 40 percent tended to trust the EU in the spring of 2015, although this figure is up from a low of 31 percent in 2012.[3] On the other hand, this low level of trust is not simply a reflection of the EU but rather a generalized lack of trust in all levels of government: Eurobarometer polls have consistently shown that EU citizens’ trust in their national parliaments and governments is even lower (percentages ranged from the mid-twenties in 2012 to the low thirties in 2015). And this issue of trust is not just a European phenomenon: Americans’ trust in their government continues to remain near historic lows, with only about 24 percent saying they trust the federal government always or most of the time.[4]

Naturally, the eurozone crisis had a marked effect on public opinion. The percentages agreeing “My voice counts in the EU” declined about 10 percentage points from 2009 to 2011. Similarly, positive images of the EU declined from 48 percent in the fall of 2009 to 30 percent three years later. Yet citizens’ perception of their voice in the EU and their general image of the EU have improved since 2012, with 42 percent agreeing that their voice counts in the spring of 2015 and 41 percent having a positive image (see Figures 10.1 and 10.2). This recent upward tick is perhaps a reflection of less pessimism about the economy and the future of the euro: 48 percent of Europeans now expect that the situation of the economy at the national level will improve (44 percent expect improvement at the European level), and 57 percent of Europeans support the euro, down only slightly from pre–eurozone crisis levels. Despite this, aggregate figures disguise some significant national differences: while some 80 percent of respondents in Estonia, Slovakia, and Luxembourg are strong supporters of the euro, the Poles (32 percent), Danes (31 percent), Swedes (25 percent), Czechs (22 percent), and British (20 percent) are extremely skeptical. Not surprisingly, economic conditions (along with immigration and the migrant crisis) remain high on the list of main concerns of EU citizens. In the spring of 2015, 27 percent rated the economic situation as one of the two most important issues facing the EU, while 38 percent cited immigration.

At a deeper psychological level, the work of the EU is compromised by the competing sense of affiliation that Europeans have toward their home states and toward the EU; most Europeans still feel closer to their home states, owe them their primary allegiance, and often think of the member states as competing with one another rather than being involved in a joint endeavor. About two in every three EU residents feels that they are citizens of the EU, with rates ranging from a high of 77–88 percent in Luxembourg, Malta, Germany, and Finland, to a low of around 50 percent in Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, and the UK. Suggestions that Europe should be brought closer to its citizens were outlined in a 1975 report drawn up at the request of the European Council by Leo Tindemans, prime minister of Belgium. However, little was done until 1984, when attention turned briefly to the idea of a “people’s Europe.” Pietro Adonnino, a former Italian MEP, was appointed to chair a committee to make suggestions on closing the gap between the Community and its citizens. Its recommendations fell into three main parts:


  1. It endorsed plans for a European passport and a European flag. All national passports—which came in different designs and colors—were replaced in 1986 by a burgundy-colored “European” passport bearing the words European Union in the appropriate national language and the name and coat of arms of the holder’s home state. These passports do not make their holders European citizens, but they do make sure that Europeans are given equal treatment by the customs and immigration authorities of other countries. Also, citizens of an EU member state finding themselves in need in a non-EU country where their home state has no diplomatic representation can receive protection from the embassy or consulate of any EU state that has a local office. Meanwhile, the Community adopted the flag that had been used by the Council of Europe since 1955—a circle of twelve gold stars on a blue background, which can now be seen flying on buildings throughout the EU.
  2. Several Adonnino recommendations were adopted under the SEA, notably the easing of restrictions on the free movement of people and plans for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Despite the understanding that an open labor market would be essential to the single market, restrictions (albeit limited) still remain on the free movement of people within the EU (see chapter 12).
  3. The EU has developed its own concept of European citizenship, although it is not the same as the citizenship we associate with states. According to the Treaty of Lisbon, “every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union,” but it also states that “citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship” (Article 20). In other words, EU citizenship is still not much more than a symbolic notion, and distinctions are made among Europeans on the basis of their national citizenship—distinctions that continue to have political consequences. Thus while all EU citizens can now vote in and stand for local and European Parliament elections in whichever country they are living (subject to residency requirements), they remain citizens of their own states, identify with those states, and carry important exclusive prerogatives of that state—for example, EU “citizens” cannot vote in each other’s national elections.

The changes that came out of the Adonnino committee had an important effect on the psychological relationship between Europeans and the EU institutions and helped make the EU more real to Europeans. Icons are an important element of belonging, and the European flag, for example, has played a vital role in giving the EU a personality that goes beyond the work of its bureaucrats. The same can be said of the euro: Europeans can now use it wherever they go in the eurozone, and the foreignness that came with different currencies—and reminded Europeans of their differences—is now, for the most part, gone.

But there is more to remind Europeans of what divides them than what unites them. For example, different parts of Europe have quite different histories, with which most other Europeans are not familiar. They have different social policies born from different political attitudes and political culture, such as differences in the recognition of same-sex unions.[5] There are different attitudes toward economic policy and toward immigration and multiculturalism, both of which have been on display in debates over the eurozone crisis, Greece, and the ongoing refugee crisis. Finally, there is also little sense of shared culture, a problem that the EU has tried to address, driven by the commitment under Maastricht that it should “contribute to the flowering of the culture of the Member States” with a view to promoting and protecting the European cultural heritage. It has subsidized architectural restoration, encouraged the translation of works by European authors, and supported cultural activities such as the European Youth Orchestra, the declaration of European Capitals of Culture (including Florence, Dublin, Lisbon, Stockholm, and Liverpool), and the establishment of a European Cultural Month in cities in nonmember states (such as Krakow, Basel, and St. Petersburg).

While the sentiments behind such projects are laudable, the development of a European identity can work only if it comes from Europeans themselves, which in turn demands that Europeans must see themselves as distinctive, as united by common interests and values, and as engaged in a shared endeavor. The stake that Europeans have in the EU will not be truly forged until (a) they can see clearly the positive impact that decisions made at the level of the EU have on their lives, and (b) they have more meaningful channels through which they can influence those decisions. Some channels already exist, and their significance is growing, but the stakes are not yet such that the need to participate is clear, or that most Europeans feel equally motivated to take part in national and European politics. For now, the most significant links between the people and the EU lie in three main arenas: referendums, elections to the European Parliament, and the work of interest groups.


European voters have expressed their opinions on European issues through national referendums. Not every member state offers them, they have only been used for selected issues, and the results of most have been unexceptional, but some have had conspicuous political effects with EU-wide implications and have occasionally stopped the process of integration in its tracks.

Most referendums have fallen into one of two major categories:

Whether to Join the EU. Referendums on this question have been held only by newer members of the EU, beginning with the votes held in Denmark, Ireland, and Norway (but not Britain) in 1972. A majority of Danes and Irish approved, but a majority of Norwegians disapproved, saying no in a second referendum in 1994. Britain held a referendum in 1975 on continued membership in the Community following renegotiation of the terms, but the referendum’s real purpose was to settle a division of opinion within Britain’s own government. The Brexit referendum in June 2016 was a variant of this, with the prospect of the UK leaving the EU always seeming more likely in 2016 than it did in 1975. All three countries that joined the EU in 1995 held referendums, as did nine of the twelve countries that joined in 2004. Croatia also held a referendum on EU membership, in January 2012, clearing its way to joining the Union. In contrast, when Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, neither used a referendum.

Whether to Accept a New Treaty. Referendums on this question have been used most often by Denmark, France, and Ireland, with sometimes surprising results. Denmark held a vote on the SEA in 1986, mainly to outmaneuver the Danish parliament, which had voted against ratification. A majority of Danes said yes on that occasion, but a majority turned down Maastricht in 1992, and a majority of Irish voters turned down the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The negative votes resulted in changes to the treaties and also drew attention to the elitist nature of EU decision making, obliging European leaders to stop taking public opinion for granted. Referendums held in 1998 in Denmark and Ireland on the terms of the Amsterdam treaty were both positive. Most famously, referendums were held in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain in 2005 on the constitutional treaty, which French and Dutch voters turned down. Six other member states that had planned referendums put them on hold.

Ireland in particular has had headline-grabbing results with its referendums: constitutionally required to have a vote on a treaty whenever national sovereignty is at stake, Irish voters turned down the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. A new referendum on Lisbon was held later that year, only after the Irish government negotiated written assurances from the EU on treaty provisions, and was passed successfully. More recently, a new fiscal compact negotiated by EU leaders during the debt crisis also was put to a vote in Ireland in May 2012. This time a second referendum was not necessary, as some 60 percent of Irish voters approved the new pact.

Although an argument can be, and has been, made that the use of referendums allows citizens more direct input into decision making, they have several distinct disadvantages. Because voters are almost always asked to vote up or down on a particular referendum question, the wording of the question can play a significant role in the outcome. The complexities and subtleties of treaties are, not surprisingly, largely lost in this process. Additionally, referendums often function as “second-order” elections, that is, voters’ decisions are guided less by the issue at hand than by their judgment of national incumbent governments (see more on this below). Of course, holding repeated referendums on a single issue (as Ireland has a number of times) can get around these difficulties, but this has some public relations cost as it appears member states will repeat the process until they “get it right.”

European Elections

Elections to the EP have been a fixture on the European political calendar since 1979. Held on a fixed five-year rotation, in years ending with a four or a nine, they give European voters a direct link with the work of the EU. The logistics of the elections are impressive: the electorate consists of some 400 million voters, many more than in the United States. Voters must be eighteen years old and citizens of one of the EU member states. At one time, member states restricted voting to their own citizens, but EU citizens have been allowed since Maastricht to vote in their country of residence, and even to run for the EP wherever they live, regardless of citizenship. They must make a declaration to the electoral authority of the member state in which they are living, and they must meet local qualifications if they want to vote and qualifications in their home state if they want to run. Member states have different rules on the minimum age for candidates, which range from eighteen to twenty-five, and also have different rules on how candidates qualify; some do not allow independent candidates, some require candidates to pay deposits, others require them to collect signatures, and so on.

Box 10.1 European Electoral Systems

Every EU member state uses variations on the theme of proportional representation (PR) for elections to the European Parliament. Whereas elections to the U.S. House of Representatives use the single-member plurality (SMP) system—in which each district is represented by one person, who is elected by winning more votes than anyone else but not necessarily a majority—PR involves distributing seats among parties according to the share of the vote each receives. Typically, EP districts will have multiple representatives, and competing parties will publish lists of candidates for each district. The number of successful candidates on each list will depend on the percentage of votes each party receives.

SMP has the advantage of tying representatives to a particular district and making them responsible to a distinct group of voters. But it also has the disadvantage of not accurately reflecting support for different parties; those that have concentrated blocs of support will often win more seats than those whose support is more widely spread. Meanwhile, PR has the advantage of more accurately reflecting the proportion of the vote given to different parties, but voters are represented by a group of representatives from different parties, and constituents may never get to know or develop ties with an individual member. PR also spreads the distribution of seats widely among parties so that no one party has enough seats to form a majority. Although this encourages legislators from different parties to work together and reach compromises, it also makes it more difficult to get anything done and promotes government instability.

One of the recommendations made by the Adonnino committee was a uniform electoral procedure for European elections. The 1974 Paris summit of Community heads of government decided that the goal would be met if European elections were secret, direct, based on universal suffrage, and held on the same day, but this has not been the end of the story. The most obvious problem is that the member states use different forms of PR. Thus, while the majority of EU member states treat their entire territory as a single electoral district and parties publish national lists of candidates, four states (Belgium, France, Ireland, and the UK) divide themselves into three to twelve Euro-constituencies, and parties publish constituency lists of candidates.


Voter turnout figures vary from one member state to another, but are lower than those at national elections and are not impressive (see Figure 10.3). Overall turnout fell steadily from 63 percent in 1979 to just under 57 percent in 1994, then took a relatively sharp fall to just over 43 percent in 2009, with about the same percentage recorded in the 2014 elections. This brought the figures down into the same range as those for most recent presidential elections in the United States. Belgium, Luxembourg, and Malta have the highest turnout (70–90 percent), Italy and Greece hover in the range of 60–70 percent (with turnout in Greece increasing 7.4 percent in 2014 compared to 2009), but in almost all other countries, fewer than half of all voters turn out. Results were particularly poor in 2004 among the new Eastern European members, which were taking part for the first time. Although large majorities turned out in Cyprus and Malta, less than 40 percent turned out in most other countries, and just 21 percent in Poland, a trend that has continued to this day in Eastern Europe. Even those stalwarts of the European Union—France and Germany—have seen their turnout figures slide to just over 40 percent.[6]

The most compelling explanation for low voter turnout is the relative significance of first-order and second-order elections.[7] Because national elections determine who controls national executives and legislatures, which make the decisions that are seen as most immediate and relevant in the lives of citizens, they are seen as first-order elections by voters and parties alike. They attract more attention, they are more hard fought, and there is more direct interest among voters in their outcome—hence turnout at national elections is greater. By contrast, local and European elections are seen as second-order elections because there is less at stake.

On the other hand, over the last two EP election cycles there is some evidence that low voter turnout is not simply or primarily the result of this. In some countries voter turnout at EP elections has actually increased as questions of “more Europe/less Europe” have moved to the center of political debate. Thus EP elections have to some degree become “first order” for a portion of the electorate, mobilizing those parties of the left and (most especially) the right who are EU skeptical or EU hostile. Indeed, some have argued that the EU may come to represent a new polarizing issue or cleavage within a Europe-wide party system, much as the owner/worker conflict arising in the nineteenth century produced socialist parties and the “postmaterialist/materialist” conflict of the 1960s produced modern Green parties.[8] Certainly the 2014 EP elections brought out a record number of EU-skeptical and EU-hostile parties (see Box 10.2).

There are several other explanations for low turnout for EP elections:[9]

  • Few European voters know what Parliament does or have developed strong psychological ties to Parliament, and they are either confused or badly informed about European issues.
  • There is no change of leadership at stake, as there would be in a national election, so voters feel there is less to be lost or gained. The membership of the Commission (notwithstanding the election of Jean-Claude Juncker, discussed in chapter 5) bears no relation to the makeup of Parliament; if it did, voter turnout would almost certainly increase.
  • Turnover among MEPs has been so high—and the number of opportunities for MEPs to make a public reputation for themselves so low—that the EP has generated few political personalities of the kind that will often spark voter interest in national elections.
  • The media and national governments tend to downplay the significance of European elections. Where national elections receive headline coverage, ranging from the first political gossip about when an election might be called to the election campaign itself, EP elections receive minimal coverage and so generate less voter interest.
  • A significant number of voters have little interest in the EU or are skeptical about the concept of integration, making them disinclined to take part in European elections.

Just as in the United States, opinion in the EU is divided on whether low turnout is a matter of concern or not. On the one hand, it means that not all opinions are represented and that results are determined by the kind of citizens who are most engaged in the political process. On the other hand, it might be argued that the right not to vote is just as much a part of the democratic process as the right to participate.

Interest Groups

As vibrant democracies, every member state of the EU has a diverse and active community of interest groups that works to influence government on a wide variety of issues, using multiple methods. When policy was made primarily at the national or local level, these groups devoted most of their attention to trying to influence national and local governments. But as more decisions were made at the European level, more groups focused their efforts on European-level policy making, particularly in the European Commission and the European Parliament.[10] Many either opened offices in Brussels or became part of Brussels-based umbrella organizations; by 2006 there were thought to be more than 850 EU-level interest groups (or Eurogroups), mainly representing business interests, public interests, and the professions.[11]

Interest groups have provided an important counterbalance to the nationalist and intergovernmental inclinations of EU policy making, because they have often cut across national frontiers to promote the shared sectional interests of groups of people in multiple member states. The representation of interests at the European level has become more diversified and specialized, and Eurogroups are becoming protagonists—they now try to influence policy rather than simply monitor events, using increasingly sophisticated means to attract allegiance.[12] Something of a symbiotic relationship has developed between the Commission and interest groups, with the former actively supporting the work of many groups and giving them access to its advisory committee meetings, and the latter doing what they can to influence the content and development of policy and legislative proposals as they work their way through the Commission.

Box 10.2 The 2014 EP Election: A Political Earthquake?

Although anti-EU parties have been around as long as there have been direct elections to the European Parliament, the EP elections of 2014 have been described by some as a political earthquake. While the mainstream parties—EPP, S&D, ALDE, and Greens—continued to hold the vast majority of seats, all lost seats from the previous parliament. The EPP and ALDE were hit especially hard, each hemorrhaging around a quarter of their previous MEPs. The “winners” of the 2014 election were clearly EU-skeptical and EU-hostile parties on the right: they roughly doubled their previous seat total, with strong showings in a majority of EU member states, from Denmark (up almost 12 percent from 2009) to Sweden (up almost 10 percent), Germany (up 7 percent), and Poland (up some 7 percent). The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and France’s National Front (FN) were the standouts among this group of right-wing, anti-EU parties, with both receiving more votes in the election than the mainstream parties of the left and right in the UK and France, respectively. Although some other radical right parties (for example, Hungary’s Jobbik) held steady, with little or no gains compared to 2009, they continued to maintain a significant number of seats in the EP. Furthermore, some EU-skeptical parties on the left—such as Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain—made strong showings as well.

However, before coming to the conclusion that somehow the 2014 election changed everything, two things should be kept in mind. First, anti-EU parties did not perform well everywhere (the Netherlands and Finland being two significant examples), and they still remain a distinct minority: of the 751 MEPs, only about a fourth are aligned with anti-EU parties. Second, although all of these parties are animated by hostility to the EU to some degree or another, they have real differences over what they would like the EU to be and how they intend to achieve their goals. Given the fractious history of anti-EU parties (refusing from the beginning to work with a political group they find distasteful, or joining a political group and then defecting once irreconcilable differences have become clear), it is highly unlikely that these parties will be able to cooperate to achieve a shared vision. More worrisome for supporters of the EU project is that anti-­­EU parties will have an increased platform to promote their message and more influence through committee positions. However, their impact will probably be felt less in the European Parliament itself than in their home countries, where their noisy opposition may pressure national governments to put a brake on further European integration.

As the EU has become increasingly active in a broader variety of policy areas, so the number of special interest groups based in Brussels has increased, dealing with issues as diverse as the environment, agriculture, consumer protection, transport, trade, and social policy. Eurogroups use methods that are similar to those used by groups at the national or local level, such as promoting public awareness in support of their cause, building membership numbers in order to increase their influence and credibility, representing the views of their members, and forming networks with other interest groups. Relative to business groups, however, most special interest groups have critical handicaps:

  • They tend to be relatively small and have neither the resources nor the professional expertise to compete with business federations.
  • Their technical expertise does not always measure up to that of business groups, and they often lack the ability to discuss the costs and benefits of policy options in real terms. Much of the problem stems from their relative lack of resources; while the business lobby can often draw on the combined and substantial resources of some of the world’s richest corporations, special interest groups can often do little more than employ outside experts as occasional consultants. They also often lack the grasp of technical issues needed to debate the business lobby.
  • Brussels-based umbrella organizations are dependent for much of their support on their member organizations, most of which still focus more on trying to influence policy at the national level than at the European one. There is relatively little cross-national cooperation among special interest groups.
  • The compartmentalized nature of policy making within the Commission requires that groups be able to monitor and respond to policy developments in multiple directorates-general. They need to go beyond the DG that deals most obviously with their policy area and work with other DGs as well, but they often lack the staff to do so.

At the same time, groups have several important cards that they can play, and they have become better with time at exploiting their strengths, which include the following:

  • The ability to influence the political agenda in Brussels by building pan-European coalitions and mustering the forces of the thousands of regional, national, and local groups active in the EU. Unlike business (which is often limited by narrow agendas and conflicts of interest), special interest groups are capable of taking a coordinated pan-European view of their long-term interests, providing a balance to the narrower views of the Commission.
  • The ability to be of service by providing information. DGs are often overworked and understaffed, must rely on outside sources for expert technical information, and do not have the resources to adequately monitor compliance with EU law. National interest groups in particular can exert influence by actively assisting the Commission with the provision of technical information and by acting as watchdogs over compliance.[13]

Overall, the activities of interest groups have helped offset the problem of the democratic deficit (see Box 11.2) by offering Europeans channels outside the formal structure of EU institutions through which they can influence EU policy. They have also helped to focus the attention of interest group members on how the EU influences the policies that affect their lives, have helped to draw people more actively into the process by which the EU makes its decisions, and have encouraged them to bypass their national governments and to focus their attention on European responses to shared and common problems.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the major obstacles to developing a primary European identity, and can Europe be like the United States, where regional identities are trumped by an overarching American identity?
  2. Should more states in the EU use national referendums for questions concerning the EU as a way of improving the EU’s democratic record, or are referendums harmful to the EU project?
  3. What could the EU do to increase participation in EU elections? Should European leaders be worried about low turnout, or can it be seen (as it sometimes is in the U.S.) as simply a consequence of a free society where citizens can choose to participate or not?
    1. Further Reading

      De Dio, Lorenzo, Vincenzo Emanuele, and Nicola Maggini, eds. The European Parliament Elections of 2014–the e-book.

      A study of the most recent set of elections to the European Parliament and reviews of results in the member states.

      Greenwood, Justin. Interest Representation in the European Union. 3rd rev. ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

      A survey of the work of interest groups at the national and European levels, with chapters on business, professional, labor, and public interest groups.

      Lindberg, Bjorn, Anne Rasmussen, and Andreas Warntjen, eds. The Role of Political Parties in the European Union. London: Routledge, 2009.

      An edited collection of studies on the mechanics and role of political parties in the European and national arenas.

      Lodge, Juliet, ed. The 1999 Elections to the European Parliament. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.

      ———. The 2004 Elections to the European Parliament. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

      Two studies of two of the three most recent sets of elections to the European Parliament and reviews of results in the member states. The first includes an overview of the EP and the EU electoral systems.

      Pedler, Robin, ed. European Union Lobbying: Changes in the Arena. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

      A series of case studies of lobbying campaigns directed at influencing EU policy on issues ranging from the environment to trade and enlargement.


      [1] Michael Edwards, Civil Society (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2005).

      [2] For a review of Euroskepticism, see Paul Taggart and Aleks Sczerbiak, “Supporting the Union? Euroscepticism and the Politics of European Integration,” in Maria Green Cowles and Desmond Dinan, eds., Developments in the European Union (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). For an example of Euroskeptic thinking, see Christopher Booker and Richard North, The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive?, rev. ed. (London: Continuum, 2005).
      [3] All figures cited are from “Public Opinion in the European Union,” Standard Eurobarometer 83, Spring 2015,
      [4] “Public Trust in Government: 1958–2014,” Pew Research Center, www
      [5] Paul Geitner, “On Gay Marriage, Europe Strains to Square 27 Interests,” New York Times, July 26, 2012, A3.
      [6] For an analysis of turnout, see Mark Franklin, “European Elections and the European Voter,” in Jeremy Richardson, ed., European Union: Power and Policy-­Making, 3rd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2006), 233–37.
      [7] See K. Reiff and H. Schmitt, “Nine Second-Order National Elections: A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of European Election Results,” European Journal of Political Research 8, no. 1 (1980): 3–44; and Simon Hix and Bjørn Høyland, The Political System of the European Union, 3rd ed. (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 190–94.
      [8] See Lorenzo De Dio, Vincenzo Emanuele, and Nicola Maggini, “Conclusions” in De Dio, Emanuele, and Maggini, eds., The European Parliament Elections of 2014—the e-book,
      [9] For discussion, see David Judge and David Earnshaw, The European Parliament, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 86–90.
      [10] Sonia Mazey and Jeremy Richardson, “Interest Groups and the Brussels Bureaucracy,” in Jack Hayward and Anand Menon, eds., Governing Europe (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003); and Sonia Mazey and Jeremy Richardson, “Interest Groups and EU Policy-Making,” in Richardson, ed., European Union.
      [11] Richard Balme and Didier Chabanet, European Governance and Democracy: Power and Protest in the EU (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).
      [12] Mark Aspinwall and Justin Greenwood, “Conceptualising Collective Action in the European Union: An Introduction,” in Justin Greenwood and Mark Aspinwall, eds., Collective Action in the European Union (New York: Routledge, 1998).
      [13] For more details, see John McCormick, Environmental Policy in the European Union (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 111–22.

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