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So what's wrong with the EU? Motivations underlying the Eurosceptic vote in the 2009 European elections


  • Joost van Spanje

    () (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Claes de Vreese

    (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


In recent decades, ordinary European Union (EU) citizens have been able to express their opinion on the course of the European project on several occasions. Judging from electoral outcomes, there is quite some Euroscepticism among them. What motivations underlie the Eurosceptic vote? Using an extended and comprehensive multidimensional measure of EU attitudes, we investigate which specific attitudes and issue positions were conducive to Eurosceptic voting in the 2009 European Parliament elections. Based on a voter survey in 21 countries, we conclude that concerns about the EU's 'democratic deficit', low perceived utility of the EU for the country, negative affection towards the EU, opposition to EU integration, and an absence of EU identity enhance anti-EU voting. In addition, these effects depend on the dispersion of party positions concerning EU matters, so that the more the parties diverge on EU matters, the stronger the effect becomes of each of the five EU dimensions mentioned on party choice. We conclude by setting these findings in perspective and discussing their implications for the future of the European project.

Suggested Citation

  • Joost van Spanje & Claes de Vreese, 2011. "So what's wrong with the EU? Motivations underlying the Eurosceptic vote in the 2009 European elections," European Union Politics, , vol. 12(3), pages 405-429, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:12:y:2011:i:3:p:405-429

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