Constantin Schäfer, Martin Gross
What Moves Voters and Parties in Times of Crisis? A Macro-Level Analysis on the Euro Crisis Effects on Euroscepticism

3-Länder-Tagung "Regionalismus in einer entgrenzten Welt" der DVPW, ÖGPW und SVPW, Universität Heidelberg, September 29th to October 01st, 2016

In this paper, we ask whether the Euro crisis has led to a rise in citizen- and party-based Euroscepticism, especially in the countries most affected by this economic and sovereign debt crisis. We argue that the crisis had an impact on political support for the EU, on participation and vote choice at the first post-crisis European Parliament (EP) elections in 2014, and on party competition in EU member states regarding the issue of European integration. The empirical results of the macro-level analyses that are based on macro-economic and political data from Eurostat, the European Election Studies voter survey and the Euromanifesto dataset, reveal that our theoretical expectations are mostly supported. The more countries have experienced economic downturns during the Euro crisis, the stronger has public EU support declined. Moreover, increases in unemployment are related to increases of EP election turnout and vote shares for Eurosceptic parties, as well as to party position shifts towards Euroscepticism. These effects, however, are countered or at least weakened by adverse effects of public opinion on the EU.