Matthias Mader, Konstantin Gavras, Stephanie Hofmann, Jason Reifler, Harald Schoen, Catarina Thomson
International threats and support for European security and defence integration: Evidence from 25 countries

European Journal of Political Research, 2024: 63, Heft 2, S. 433-454
ISSN: 1475-6765 (online)

When member states of the European Union face serious international threats, does this serve as a catalyst or obstacle for European integration in the security and defence domain? To gain purchase on this question, this paper examines public opinion from a common instrument fielded in 24 EU member states (and the United Kingdom) with a total sample size of more than 40,000 respondents. We argue that theoretical accounts of perceived threat produce rival hypotheses. Threats might have either uniform or differential effects on different groups of citizens and could lead to either convergence or divergence of public opinion. We show that perceptions of foreign threats are associated with more favourable views on integration in the security and defence domain. Importantly, this association is as strong among Eurosceptics as among Europhiles. The findings presented here are consistent with the view that functional pressures may temporarily convince Eurosceptics to accept integration in the foreign and security domain.