Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations

Daniel Gaxie and Nicolas Hubé

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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As elites’ attitudes toward supranational institutions cannot be reduced to a simple binary opposition between pro- (federalists) and anti- (‘sovereigntists’) integrationists, this chapter tries to differentiate between and to consider all configurations of opinions, including a third group that sees integration as a means to preserve and restore national autonomy and independence. Overall, elite opinions show nuances of federalism and intergovernmentalism, and only a minority share a true federalist conception of European institutions. Likewise, not all eurosceptics are staunch defenders of national sovereignties, and those that are constitute a minority of national elites. Elites’ attitudes toward the EU are linked mainly to their national belonging. Often depicted as market and business oriented, the current construction of Europe seems also to be mainly supported by elites who share left and centre general political views. Each national collective experience is sifted through the ideological orientations of the national elites.

Keywords: federalist; sovereignist; intergovernmentalist; confederalist; unionist; nationalist; national belonging; European institutions

Chapter.  9760 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union ; Comparative Politics

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