The global financial, economic and sovereign debt crisis since 2008 has led to increases in political disaffection among citizens, a loss of legitimacy of political institutions, the discredit of mainstream parties and the rise of extremist or anti-system political alternatives.
This comparative volume sheds greater light on this critical juncture in the recent history of the European Union (EU) by focusing on the evolution of attitudes of national political elites. It examines whether the crisis has affected the legitimacy of the EU integration project as perceived by national political elites and, consequently, if the elite consensus that constituted one of the most solid fundamentals supporting that project has been eroded. Analysing these changes across the different dimensions in which support for the EU is organized and its relationship with the evolution of support towards European integration among citizens in member states, the book addresses a basic question: How have these events affected the perceptions of the EU of national political elites? Ultimately, it sheds light on the evolution of the relationship between the perception of the EU and the national contexts, as well as the likely evolution of the project of European integration in the near future.
This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of political elites, EU politics, European integration, political parties, and more broadly to comparative politics, European studies and sociology.
1. Introduction: The Eurocrisis and National Political Elites [Nicolò Conti, Borbála Göncz and José Real-Dato]
2. A Challenged Project: The ‘Europe of Elites’ in Crisis [Heinrich Best and Lars Vogel]
3. The Influence of the Crisis on the Perceptions of European Union Institutions by National Political Elites [José Real-Dato, Maurizio Cotta, and Juan Rodríguez-Teruel]
4. Levels of Policy Decisions: Do Elite Preferences Differ Before and After the Crisis? [György Lengyel, Bálint Lengyel and Nicolò Conti]
5. European Integration in the View of Political Elites and Citizens – An Increasing Gap? [Lars Vogel and Borbála Göncz]
6. Individuals vs. Parties: Comparing MPs’ Positions to the Positions of Their Own Parties [Marko Kukec, Bojana Kocijan and Luca Verzichelli]
7. Resilience of Pro-European Consensus among Political Elites in Crisis: 'Old' and 'New' EU Member States Compared [Matej Makarovič, Matevž Tomšič]
8. The Future of the EU: Between Integration and Disintegration [Francesco Marangoni and Federico Russo]
9. Conclusions: Still a Europe of Elites [José Real-Dato, Borbála Göncz and Nicolò Conti]
All political systems are governed by ruling elites – presidents, prime ministers, ministers, civil servants, judges, mayors and councillors all play important roles in running our lives, while beyond the state people are picked to run international organizations. Social elites, such as global business or media tycoons, religious or ethnic leaders, play a major role influencing public policy. The books in this series examine all such political and social elites within local, national and international arenas. We are interested in theoretical and empirical analyses of elites. Whilst elites have been studied in the past, modern computing and electronic data-collection facilities mean that for the first time comprehensive information on the personal characteristics of elites, including factors such as birthplace, age, and social and educational background, can relatively easily be gathered. We can explore the ways in which people enter the elite, the networks they form and the policies they effect. Modern techniques open up exciting opportunities to examine our governors, their actions and interactions in more detail than ever before.