Causes and consequences of change in public opinion about Europe

Public opinion towards European integration and the EU is divided, especially in the wake of the economic crisis. From being a consensus issue with stable and broad elite and public support across the continent, it is now a contentious issue with swiftly changing opinions. EU opinions, by many dubbed as euroscepticism, include utilitarian considerations, identity issues, and emotions. These EU opinions matter for voting behaviour and for the future course of the EU and European democracies.  European integration can only credibly  function with public support and yet we know little about what drives and changes this support: we need to know why some people change their opinions about European integration while others do not, and what the consequences of these changes are in terms of electoral behaviour.

In this ERC project we studied the causes and consequences of EU opinions. Opinions may change in response to real world developments, domestic political factors, and personal experiences, but very importantly also in  response to new information such as provided by the media and in interpersonal and network communication. The project focused in particular on the impact of communication on changes in opinions, in the context of these other factors. The key question underlying this project was: when, how, for whom, and with which consequences communication matters for changes in public opinion about Europe?


I co-authored the following articles that cover one of the above mentioned research questions (or go beyond them):

Goldberg, A.C., A. Brosius and C.H. de Vreese (2022). Policy responsibility in the multilevel EU structure – The (non-)effect of media reporting on citizens’ responsibility attribution across four policy areas. Journal of European Integration 44(3): 381-409.

Goldberg, A.C., E.J. van Elsas and C.H. de Vreese (2021). One Union, different futures? Public preferences for the EU’s future and their explanations in ten EU countries. European Union Politics 22(4): 721-740.

Goldberg, A.C., E.J. van Elsas and C.H. de Vreese (2021). Eurovisions – An exploration and explanation of public preferences for future EU scenarios. Journal of Common Market Studies 59(2): 222–241.

Marquart, F., A.C. Goldberg and C.H. de Vreese (2020). ‘This time I’m (not) voting’: A comprehensive overview of campaign factors influencing turnout at European Parliament elections. European Union Politics 21(4): 680-705.

Goldberg, A.C., E.J. van Elsas and C.H. de Vreese (2020). Mismatch? Comparing elite and citizen polarisation on EU issues across four countries. Journal of European Public Policy 27(2): 310-328.

Marquart, F., A.C. Goldberg, E.J. van Elsas, A. Brosius and C.H. de Vreese (2019). Knowing is not loving: Media effects on knowledge about and attitudes toward the EU. Journal of European Integration 41(5): 641-655.

Van Elsas, E.J., A.C. Goldberg and C.H. de Vreese (2019). EU issue voting and the 2014 European Parliament elections: a dynamic perspectiveJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 29(3): 341-360.

Goldberg, A.C. and C.H. de Vreese (2018). The Dynamics of EU attitudes and their effects on Voting. Acta Politica 53(4): 542-568.

Related Datasets

Goldberg, A.C., van Elsas, E.J., Marquart, F., Brosius, A., de Boer, D.C., & de Vreese, C.H. (2021). Europinions: Public Opinion Survey. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5553 Data file Version 1.0.0,

Brosius, A., Marquart, F., de Boer, D.C., Goldberg, A.C., van Elsas, E.J., & de Vreese, C.H. (2021). Europinions: Media Study. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5554 Data file Version 1.0.0,

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