Book Contribution

The Emotional Landscape of European Voters

Summary Vice-director Catharina Sørensen with William Rohde Madsen have contributed to the book 'Deliberative Democracy in the EU'. The book is edited by Steven Blockmans & Sophia Russack, CEPS, and published by Rowman & Littlefield International, London, 2020. The book explores if and how direct channels for citizens to express their concerns and preferences can strengthen representative democracy in the EU. Below is the summary of their contribution 'The Emotional Landscape of European Voters'.

Examining public opinion towards the EU as detected across the Union's Member States around the time of the 2019 European Parliament elections makes it possible to analyse the underlying sentiments of European voters as the EU enters the post-Brexit era. The election results, as well as concomitant opinion surveys, portray a divided citizenry. On the one hand, support for EU membership, and feelings of benefit from, and of being heard in, the EU, are at historically high levels - and voter turnout was at its highest level since 1994. On the other hand, support for populist, Eurosceptic parties is high and growing in several countries, and a majority of European citizens today doubt their children face better prospects than did their parents. A staggering 28 pct. of Europeans believe it is realistic with a war between EU Member States within the next 10 years. This duality shows that the oft-assumed inference that populist voters reject European integration is empirically weak, but, simultaneously, that there seems to be a consistent disconnect in many voters' minds between national and European politics.  

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