Rosa M. Navarrete, Marc Debus
The Importance of EU Issues in German Elections

Pp. 205-230 in: Marina Costa Lobo (Ed.): The Impact of EU Politicisation on Voting Behaviour in Europe. 2023. London: Palgrave Macmillan
[Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics]

The decision-making processes employed by German politicians and voters in elections to the German Bundestag matter decisively for policy-making at the European level. When casting their vote, German voters choose their representatives and are in a position to use federal elections to keep European Union (EU) policy accountable and better defend their national interests. Nevertheless, the German press and political parties—with the exception of those on the radical right, like the Alternative for Germany (AfD—Alternative für Deutschland)—tend not to use EU issues to mobilize voters and do not politicize EU integration policy. This pro-European vocation would suggest there is no place for EU issue voting in Germany; however, this is not the case. This contribution disentangles the apparent consensus about the EU and assesses the nuances that indicate the Europeanization of German elections. First, we find that parties behave strategically in respect of the prominence they give to European integration issues and in the way they talk about them. Second, we provide evidence supporting the influence of EU issue voting in the last federal elections. Finally, we show how the opinions of individuals on immigration policy moderate the effect of support for the EU on the vote.