The other side of European identity: elite perceptions of threats to a cohesive Europe

Irmina Matonytė and Vaidas Morkevičius

in The Europe of Elites

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199602315
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738951 | DOI:

Series: IntUne

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This chapter investigates elites’ perceptions of potential external and internal threats to a cohesive Europe (enlargement of the EU to include Turkey, close relationships between some EU countries and the United States, interference of Russia in European affairs, increase in nationalism, immigration from non-EU states, negative effects of globalization on welfare, and economic and social differences among the EU member states). Results show nationalism and socio-economic differences to be perceived as the highest threats. Significant differences are found between perceptions of elites from EU founding member states and the new post-socialist EU member states; the perception of threats is not systematically stronger among political elites than among economic elites, although elites’ left–right political identification is a powerful predictor. Threat perception is also related to elites’ visions of Europe and articulated along three lines: cultural heritage, socio-economic order, and governance. Elites’ trust in the EU institutions decreases their perception of threats.

Keywords: European elites; threat perception; cohesive Europe; identity; socio-economic frame; political self-identification; nationalism; immigration

Chapter.  9586 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union ; Comparative Politics

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