Elites, Masses and European Integration

ELITE ATTITUDES, MASS NATIONALISM AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION: A MULTI-LEVEL APPROACH

CAROLYN SMITH KELLER

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Abstract

While elites have played an important role in European Union (EU) integration, more research is needed on the impact of public opinion. In this paper I analyze individual and country-level variation in the relationship between nationalism and support for EU integration across 13 EU countries with data from 2007 and 2009, that is, from before and after the global economic crisis. I use two components of in the Integrated and United (IntUne) data set: (a) the samples comprised of members of the general public (i.e. masses), and (b) the samples comprised of national level parliamentarians. Findings suggest that elites are more supportive of EU integration than the masses regardless of the country’s level of economic and political development. For both elites and the general public, higher nationalism is correlated with stronger support for EU integration.

Keywords: nationalism, European integration, elites and the general public