ProConEU is a research project that aims to analyse the enlarging gaps between Proponents and Opponents of the European Integration in terms of party politics, citizen politics and social media communication. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and it involves MZES Mannheim, LMU Munich, University of Thessaloniki, University of Newcastle.

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Is the current EU political conflict based on a divide cleavage between friends and foes of European integration?

Europe is currently facing a diverse set of challenges. During the last decade divisions between friends and foes of the European Union have been becoming more passionate and acute. Some scholarly work explored the multiple crises which the EU has been going through. However, compelling empirical evidence is lacking. Accordingly, drawing on a systematic analysis of different data sources – election programs, social media data and public opinion surveys, the ProConEU Project aims to empirically investigate whether or not current conflicts within and about the European Union are based on a transnational cleavage between supporters and opponents of the European project, involving both the EU citizenry and political elites

Which are the consequences of this potential cleavage for the future of European integration the prospects of liberal democracy in the EU ?

The ProConEu project consists in a multi-actor/multi-method study aiming to analyse how this conflict is mirrored in and shaped by party competition, and how this conflict emerges from the interaction between voters and political elites. We plan to investigate the new transnational cleavage as it emerges in political parties’ policy proposals (political elites), voters’ behaviour (citizens) and the new social media (interaction between them). Essential factors that have favoured this conflictual division in the past and will continue to favour it in the future are to be systematically identified and examined in the course of ProConEU. In this way we will be able to formulate very concrete instructions for politics and society in order to strengthen cohesion in Europe. By doing so, the project aims to answer a more general and fundamental question: which are the consequences of this conflict for the future of European integration and for the prospects of liberal democracy in Europe?

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